Jason Collins Reveals He Is Gay And I Say……

jason collins - sports illustrated - gay

Jason Collins Announces He Is Gay
Source: Sports Illustrated

Jason Collins came out to the world on Monday April 29th in a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated (read it here as it is very good, whether you agree with his decision or not.)  When the news first hit all of my social media channels I did absolutely nothing.  I did not run, ok click, over to CNNSI.com even though I visit the site 3 to 4 times per day.  I didn’t offer my opinion on the news to anybody but instead kept working and thinking.  I thought about Jason Collins and who he was, what his place in the NBA and in a grander scheme the world is/was.  What did this revelation mean to the real world, and by real world I mean outside of sports.

Jason Collins is a Stanford graduate (so he is pretty smart) and a 12 year veteran of the NBA.  He plays center so he is a rather large man (over 7 foot tall) but is a back up at best when you look at his statistics.  Last year he played in only 39 games and played only 10 minutes per game with a scoring average of 1 point and 1 rebound.  Yes, Jason Collins plays in the NBA but that is using the term loosely but he is still a professional athlete and so this made the news and continues to dominate the sports news.

From what I have seen the reaction has been very positive and there has been a lot of support.  The only negative comment I read came from Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Mike Wallace.  His tweets have since been deleted and an apology issued, which I presume defines the sensitivity that people will have regarding this news about Jason Collins being a homosexual.

After a few hours I finally decided to read the piece and it was very well written, as would be expected from a Stanford grad and again just thought about what it meant.  After two days of processing this news I came to a revelation of my own: Who Cares!  Think about this for a few seconds before you decide to comment about my opinion.  Did Jason Collins saying publicly that he is gay affect your life?  Is so, how?  Are you no longer a believer in the rights of a person to do with their life as they so choose?  Are you now wishing that more people would come out and say that they are gay?  If it affected you in more than a news story I would like to know because that is all it is to me……a news story that has no effect on my life.

I grew up in New York City and have homosexual friends and family so maybe that is why this news has not affected me personally.  It has allowed me to think more about the world of sports and homosexuality.  If this had been a more prominent star in the NBA or even the NFL then I think there would have been an even bigger reaction, but before we start discussing that let us think about the following:

  • Gay marriage is a topic that has been at the forefront of the political discussion for years.
  • To my knowledge there is no segregation for homosexuals the way there was for blacks and whites.

My point about these two bullets is that this is not Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball.  This is just not the news that the 24 hour news cycle is making it out to be.  This is a non-story in my world.  I congratulate Jason Collins for opening up and allowing himself to be himself but I also think that this is much to do about nothing.

The world of sports seems to be waiting for the shoe to drop on a big name player saying that they are gay, but my question is:  What happens then?  Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Derek Jeter of Major League Baseball, LeBron James of the National Basketball Association, Tom Brady of the National Football League, and Sidney Crosby of the National Hockey League all put out a story on the same day that they are gay.  What happens then?  Does the world stop on its axis?  Do the leagues stop playing games?  Do their teammates rip up their multi-million dollar contracts and say they aren’t playing with them anymore?

The news that Jason Collins is gay is not earth shattering the way that Earvin “Magic’ Johnson’s news that he has HIV was earth shattering.  That news came out at a time when HIV was not fully understood and the topic of being gay just seemed to be being approached.  Today we have lived with the topic of homosexuality being in the news more often than ever before and so when Jason Collins revealed he was gay I chose to keep on working and not rush to read the article, nor rush to judgement.

Lastly, before we also stand up and high-five Jason Collins for coming out (which I think is commendable) I think we should take note of athletes like Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King,  Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Chris Kluwe who have reported that they are gay or support gay rights before Jason Collins let his news be known.

I will say that I look forward to the day when announcements like Jason Collins announcement get zero news coverage.  It is not important to know somebody’s sexuality, or at least it shouldn’t be but until then I will congratulate any professional athlete that doesn’t feel the need to be something other than themselves.  It takes courage to come out and tell the ‘manly’ world of sports that you are gay but it really shouldn’t be.

What Are Your Thoughts About Jason Collins Announcement Specifically And Homosexuals In Sports In General?

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  1. Victoria says:

    Maybe I just don’t follow the NBA closely enough, but when did all the other players announce they were straight? I don’t recall that.
    Victoria recently posted..April 22-28: Not Much To See HereMy Profile

  2. Kate says:

    My comment was going to be (still is, I guess) that it’ll be a bigger news story when something like this ISN’T a big news story. The only person whose love life directly impacts my own is my husband’s.
    Kate recently posted..Training partnerMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      That is very true. It will be great when something like this doesn’t make the news but unfortunately because we live in the 24 hour news cycle these days even the smallest most ridiculous things are going to get reported. Hopefully a person’s sexuality isn’t among those news stories in the future.

  3. Jen says:

    I’m with you. I guess my first thought was “good for you.” and my second thought was “who cares?” I too grew up in the NYC area and my other home was Los Angeles so having gay friends is as normal as having straight friends.

    I guess the good news is, that we are living in a day and age where such a player can make that statement and get more support than negativity. It’s a sign of the times.
    Jen recently posted..Book review: Honey, Do You Need a Ride?My Profile

    • CTER says:

      In the grand scheme of things you can say progress is progress but hopefully we get to the point where EVERYBODY says “who cares?” and just moves on so that this doesn’t become ‘news’ in our lives.

  4. Donna D says:

    Here is an interesting perspective by Penelope Trunk on why Jason Collins does matter – it is not about being gay, it is about being who you are openly that matters.


    I salute anyone who is open and true to themselves in tough workplace environments. Jason Collins’ story is a story because it resonates. It is a typical human interest story which also just happens to touch on a topical subject of equality. Is it NEWS? Not in my opinion, not in the same way that I label (for example) coverage of international relations. But is it worthy of coverage? Yes. Any story that might help more people to be comfortable in their skin is worthy of a forum – whether that forum is a blog or a national magazine.

    • CTER says:

      Thanks Donna. That is a great piece and speaks volumes to the point of being who you are and not just about Jason Collins.

      My question is if it is worthy of coverage when does it not become worthy of coverage. I don’t think somebody’s sexuality should matter at all, and I know it does right now, but if we stop making it coverage then will it not stop being news? At that point would we all just go ho-hum and move on because we do accept it.

      I guess we all need to acknowledge it in some form today so that tomorrow we can say ho-hum and laugh like the Penelope Trunk post points out a the end.
      CTER recently posted..Jason Collins Reveals He Is Gay And I Say……My Profile

      • Donna D says:

        Human interest will always be, well, of interest. I guess the Collins story is of interest because he is the only out player at the moment in the NBA. When will it no longer be of interest? When it is just normal to be out. When will it be normal to be out? In my world it already is normal to be out. But I guess not in everyone’s world, and not in the NBA. And certainly not in every corner of the earth where the NBA is followed – my goodness in some countries that follow the NBA homosexuality is punishable by death! So stories like this empower people EVERYWHERE to challenge norms so they can be who they are. Surely, that is what it is about.

        • CTER says:

          If we look at it that way then it may never be normal to be out. There will, most likely, always be somebody or quite a few somebody’s that don’t accept homosexuality. I recently heard a story about a school in Georgia (I believe) that just integrated their prom this year. That is crazy talk to me. The fact that there was a black and a white prom is nuts but it happened and has been happening even though one would assume that in America that integration had been fully accepted, especially at a high school level.

          Yes, there are all white schools as well as all black schools but those are private (I could be wrong) and you have the choice to do with your money what you wish but at a public school integration would be the last thing I would think had needed to be accepted.

          All of this is to say that there may never be full acceptance of homosexuality whether it is in pro sports, the business world or the political world and thus stories like this may always be news.

  5. I think when Anderson Cooper came out as being gay the only people who were shocked were the people that have been making jokes about taking it up the rear from him because you can’t deny the silver fox. And that might have just been me, because I made that joke for years. I mean come on.

    If AC was a non-event then this should be too. I hope he finds a team that needs his skills next year, he’s already lasted longer than most people do in the NBA.
    Carolina John recently posted..Weeks BehindMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I agree I hope that he does get picked up by a team that needs his services, but what I hope doesn’t happen is some owner/GM signing him just to make a splash and drive revenue to his team because that would be a disservice to him.

  6. Simona says:

    I live in the Midwest, though I went to college and lived on the East Coast for a number of years. If you spent an hour with your average male teenager from Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, or (even more so), Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri (etc. etc.) you would understand why Jason Collins coming out is a big deal. Because it defies the RAMPANT homophobia that dominates major mainstream sports such as football, basketball and baseball and most of their fans.
    I know there are million of fans who are NOT homophobic, but there are millions more that are, especially men. And if not outright homophobic, most heterosexual (and some homosexual!) males in conservatives communities will still feel free to make derogatory remarks about gay men and women just to feel accepted by other conservative members of their communities. Being called “gay” is still an insult in a lot of high schools and middle schools. It is still a stereotype and a threat.
    I am not a basketball (or football or baseball) fan, but I teach college-age students in a very average conservative Midwestern community, and I assure you that I have no doubts about why Jason Collins coming out is a big deal.
    I also have many gay and lesbian friends who live here who were quite proud of Collins and cherished his courage and his willingness to challenge stereotypes and bigotry. Of course, if you live in NY or LA, this seems like a bizarre piece of news … or not news at all. But NY and LA are not the entire country, and they might not even be the majority of the country.
    For those of us who still feel the presence of discrimination and bigotry against LBGT friends and family, Jason Collins is a bit of a Jackie Robinson. Thank you, Jason.

    • CTER says:

      Living in Dallas I have seen Conservative and it is a different world than the one I group up in for sure. As I said I applaud him for coming out and feeling strongly enough to accept who he is and sharing that with the world because it is a big deal to the world and America but for me it was a non-story and I hope that it would be a non-story.

      I also hope that based on the reaction, that seems mostly positive and in support of him, that it allows others to feel comfortable with who they are and come out because maybe then the story does become a non-story and not just to me but to others.

      It will be interesting to see, and hopefully we do see it, when Jason Collins steps on the basketball court next season how the fans react. Will he be cheered when he plays the Knicks/Nets in NY and the Lakers/Clippers when in LA and booed or jeered when he plays the OKC Thunder in Oklahoma City or the Timberwolves in Minnesota?

      Also, I am not sure if you are a sports fan or listen to ESPN Radio but Colin Cowherd had Brandon Ayanbadejo on his show this morning and he discussed Jason Collins a bit more as well as the potential for other athletes to come out now and it was a great listen. Worth the listen which you can listen to here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=9238885

      Thank you for stopping by my blog and providing me and my readers with insight into this topic and I hope you come back.

  7. Bob says:

    OK, I am coming out of the closet…
    My first wife (of 10 years) figured out she was gay..
    So I am not sure what that makes me..
    I am so confused..

    I wonder how many pro triathletes are gay?
    Bob recently posted..Ironman South AfricaMy Profile

  8. melissa says:

    Great reads here. Simona’s sums up exactly what I was thinking. Sure, it would be great is this was a non-issue but it really is still an issue. Bob – sorry to hear that.
    melissa recently posted..Pre-BostonMy Profile

  9. Carol says:

    Well said, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  10. misszippy says:

    I agree–his announcement doesn’t affect my life. But maybe it does affect the lives of gay and lesbian people/athletes. My thinking is that if someone as “mainstream” as an NBA player is gay, maybe, just maybe, it will help open the eyes of a few people out there who otherwise are not accepting of this lifestyle. I’m not saying it will lead to a sea change, but if it can help break down the ignorance and the discrimination, then I’m all for it making headlines.
    misszippy recently posted..Out of the mouths of babesMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      I agree with you, but here is my biggest problem right now. There has been no talk about this since he came out and the first few days afterwards.

      Our 24 hour news cycle is probably closer to 12 hours at this point and if we truly want this to make a difference then it must continue to be spoken about by the mainstream media like CNN and the others.

  11. I’m sorry but I DON’T CARE, I don’t care what you do in your bedroom. What bothers me is this seems to be in our faces now.
    Mamarunsbarefoot recently posted..Running Food, Grass and Mailing the little brotherMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      And I don’t think it is in our faces per se. It was news, he talked about it the next day and yet a week later there is not a single article on CNNSI.com, ESPN.com or CBSSports.com talking about it. I know my local news is not talking about it so really it came and went in a flash which is a shame because those that feel that they cannot reveal this because of society are probably backing away from having had the courage to say: I’m Gay and I Play Pro Football (or sport of choice)

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