I was saddened when National Basketball Association player, Jason Collins announcement that he is gay became national news. Iím not bothered that he decided to come out, rather because itís been blown out of proportion for all the wrong reasons.
I understand, Collins being the first male athlete in professional sports to announce he is gay ... but arenít we in 2013? Itís disappointing that Collins, or anyone for that matter, has to hide it.
Does his personal life really matter?
The answer is no. Iím sure because he is the first to come out in the NBA it deserves a blurb as with anything else. The interviews, the editorials and the consistent rerun of this story is what Iím having trouble understanding.
I applaud Collinsí bravery in what very well may be a difficult environment to share that kind of intimate detail of his life. In the hyper-masculine world that professional sports can be, that was a risk (sad, but true). In large part, the issue is missed.
The story is that Collins is identified as a gay player. Forget the fact he has played 11 years in the NBA. It gives me pause for humanity when a professional basketball playerís personal life is more important than his skills on the court.
Donít get me wrong I donít think it is a bad thing that Collins decided to come out. I think his admission gives hope to others who may be struggling with the same issue of having to hide. Whether he likes it or not, he is a role model to many who donít have a voice or a platform to bring light to the issue. Is Collins the first male athlete to come forward and admit he is gay? Yes. Is he the first gay professional basketball athlete? Not by a long shot.
My hope is that one day, when American sports are more mature and hyper masculinity doesnít rule the land, other athletes can come forward and live lives unafraid in professional sports. They wonít have to be the gay teammate. They will be just another player on a team. Are we far from that?
I hope not.