At Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins writes a very moving essay on why he's coming out as the first openly gay active player in the NBA.
At The Week, Jeb Golinkin cheers Collins' decision:
Jason Collins is going to have a tough time. But it is for that exact reason that Jason Collins' decision to come out while he is still playing in the league — and I cannot underscore how important the "still playing" part of that statement is — will prove more important for all of us than we can possibly imagine. All of the players who have played with Jason Collins, and there are a lot, now have a friend that, it turns out, has been gay all along. That revelation alone is often enough to make one re-evaluate one's feelings about homosexuality. And then there is the fact that his teammates have been showering with this gay guy, and he didn't hit on them in the showers!
Bloomberg View's Josh Barro isn't as quick to praise:
Did Collins have to wait until his career might be over? He’s a graduate of the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles and Stanford University who has made more than $32 million during his NBA career. His coming-out story reflects the strong personal support network that’s available to him. Yet every day, much younger gays and lesbians routinely come out without such social, financial and emotional resources. Their actions are bravery; what Collins did should be expected.
Unfortunately, it’s not. Collins, for all his lateness, is still ahead of all his gay colleagues. And they’re probably not coming out for the same reasons Collins took so long: He says he waited out of “loyalty to his team” and not wanting his homosexuality to become “a distraction.” In other words, he was concerned about impacts on his career.
And BuzzFeed's Jack Moore put together "17 Moments When Jason Collins Was Super Gay," which you must go enjoy.
I was thrilled to see Collins take a stand, but I'm generally with Barro on this subject.
Part of the reason we continue to see homophobia from professional athletes is that a large chunk of the public (athletes included) holds the delusion that gay men aren't "manly" enough to deliver a huge hit in football or throw it down in basketball.
Jason Collins' announcement is a huge blow to that myth, and every other gay professional athlete should come forward. They owe it to many people, but mostly themselves, to directly combat prejudice by refusing to live a lie.