NBA center Jason Collins has become America’s first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay.
In a personal essay for Sports Illustrated published Monday, the NBA free agent goes into detail about his happy childhood in Los Angeles and the role his hometown continues to play in his journey toward self-discovery and acceptance.
Collins and his twin brother also went on to play for Stanford University. It was Collins’ Stanford roommate Joe Kennedy who would eventually become an integral part of his coming out story decades down the road. But throughout his youth, admitted Collins, he continued to deny his sexuality to himself and those closest to him. He dated women and was once even engaged.
What happens in one’s bedroom is not the business of anyone else. So the gay movement has another victory on this day, however, the ability of the player ought to be all that matters in the grander scheme of things. To be the ‘first gay’ male player to admit his true sexuality, is not necessarily the legacy of importance.
To solely be known for one’s personal affiliations, sexual orientation or anything else outside of the realm of the playing field should have absolutely no bearing on the individuals ability. By the mere fact that this individual was selected to perform on the professional level, indicates that his gifts and talents were the determinant regarding whether he could succeed on that level. They have proven more valuable than what choices he makes within the confines of his own personal space. In certain areas, the brute strength, agility, and ability to perform are all that people need to know.
The stigma associated with athletes has been an enigma for centuries. Fluidity, bi-sexuality and other preferences have been pervasive over the years. However, this is just the first time that someone in the USA has invited the world into the boudoir.