The men all pause… History has been made. Here it is we were under the impression that 4 NFL players were getting ready to come out of the closet together as a group, and NBA player Jason Collins has stole their thunder. Hell, I guess Collins figured they were taking to long. lol
Collins lent his story to Sports Illustrated for an editorial piece called “The Gay Athlete”. The magazine hits the news stands on May 6th. Check out what all Collin’s has to say about being the first to blaze this trail.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.” ~ Jason Collins
Collins continues, “When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.”
As to why he opted to address his sexuality now, Collins says that he was partly inspired by the Boston Marathon bombings, adding that “it takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret.”
“I’ve endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew,” he writes. “And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back.”
You can read Collins’ full Sports Illustrated editorial here.
Collin’s has already received major support from the sports community. NBA commissioner David Stern applauded Collins in a statement cited by ESPN, noting, “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.” Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld felt similarly, calling Collins “a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career” in a statement.
Good for him. Hopefully Jason Collin’s bold step will set the tone for other pro male athletes to feel comfortable living their truest lives while maintaining a pro sports career.