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NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out As First Openly Gay Pro Athlete
The NHL has been around since 1917, the NFL has been around since 1920, the NBA has been around since 1946, and the MLB has been around since 1869.
Gay men have been around forever.
Surprisingly, it has taken until 2013 for a player playing in one of the aforementioned North American sports leagues to openly admit to having the aforementioned sexual preference.
Yes, that’s right! All of those years of professional sports in the United States, and finally, on April 29, 2013, Jason Collins has become the first openly gay male athlete in this country.
Collins came out in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, stating the following:
“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.”
On the one hand, it’s rather unfortunate, as, even while living in a country that calls itself “the land of the free,” many gay athletes—or gay people, for that matter—feel anything but free when it comes to their sexual preferences. Sure, many of us have become much more tolerant of something that should have never even be considered intolerable by anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason. But there are always those homophones and bible huggers out there that will continue to tell us that same-sex relationships are wrong because “that’s not how babies are made,” or beacuse some fictional book about some guy that no one has ever seen tells us that it is “Adam and Eve,” not “Adam and Steve.”
On the other hand, today’s announcement is a tremendous milestone event in North American sports. It tells all of those ignorant, intolerant individuals that Collins is no longer going to allow their views and beliefs to stop him from being who he is, and anyone with half a heart and half a brain has applauded the Wizards’ center for his brave decision to come out.
And, as is usually the case, many of those who applauded Collins for becoming the first openly gay athlete in a major North American professional sports league did so via Twitter.
Here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say:
And Collins’ teammate with the Wizards, Bradley Beal:
Kennith Faried, whose mother is involved in a same-sex marriage, also praised Collins for coming out:
As did openly gay tennis legend, Martina Navratilova:
And the always outspoken Chris Kluwe sent some love as well, while making a rather good point:
Collins received the following offer from the Boston Red Sox:
And even the White House commended Jason Collins for coming out:
And now, we’ll simply follow suit and applaud Collins for “raising his hand.” Hopefully others will follow in his footsteps, and there will come a time when a breaking news story like this one is no longer news at all. Rather, it will just be a normal part of life. Because, really, it should be.