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Welcome out, Jason Collins

Timothy Kincaid

April 29th, 2013

Major sports has just had its first openly gay and still playing professional come out, Jason Collins. From Sports Illustrated’s May 6 edition.

I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.

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.
My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

I’ve played for six pro teams and have appeared in two NBA Finals. Ever heard of a parlor game called Three Degrees of Jason Collins? If you’re in the league, and I haven’t been your teammate, I surely have been one of your teammates’ teammates. Or one of your teammates’ teammates’ teammates.

I am certain that some sports fans and viewers will try and make life tough for Collins, but he seems confident, skilled, intelligent and articulate. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a supportive family, excellent political connections, and is beautiful. I wish that this step is nothing but rewarding and enriching in his life.

Comments

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Don
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Thanks for your bravery, Jason. I believe you won’t be the lone national sports figure to come out for very long, but you will always be the first.

Priya Lynn
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

I’m thankful for his move, but fearful of how it will work out for him.

markanthony
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

It will be interesting to see if anyone outside of the usual suspects will make hay of this. Im betting it won’t be considered a big deal at all.

Doug Johnson
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Well, congratulations for being the first one out. I hope this encourages others to be brave.

iDavid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Awesome! Very glad to see this. Let’s see more!
Timothy “it’s” is “its” in this format. An apostrophe is only used to say “it is”. Its not to be used as a possessive. Maybe spellchecker messed it up and you already know this but as the fab author you truly are, thought I’d point it out just in case.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

iDavid,

Nope. Just a typo.

Its fixed ;)

Hank
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

iDavid,
…and punctuation always goes inside quotation marks, e.g., An apostrophe is only used to say “it is.”

And “Its not to be used…” should be “It’s not to be used,” since it is the abbreviation for “It is not to be used…”

And, yes, it is wonderful news about Jason.

iDavid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Hank to the rescue! I even make mistakes when I know what’s correct. My motto is “editing is never done.” At least when writing a book. I guess it’s just that way when it’s the human brain that has its own way of trying to be brilliant. Not. I see “it’s” bring used incorrectly all the time and I still type it wrong sometimes.
As Cher would say “snap out of it!”
I could use a really good editor.
Ok, back to the show!

iDavid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

https://www.allout.org/en/actions/thank-you-jason?t=dXNlcmlkPTExNDc3MzUxLGVtYWlsaWQ9MjE4MzE%3D&utm_campaign=thank-you-jason&utm_content=english&utm_medium=email&utm_source=platform

Robert
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

He’s actually the SECOND major Sports figure to come out who’s still playing. We just had the Lesbian b-ball player, Brittney Griner come out a few days ago. Her sport is major and she’s gay and she’s still playing. Also, though one doesn’t use the word “play” to describe the sports activity, we also have Orlando Cruz the Boxer who came out a few months ago, and he’s still boxing AND winning.

Yes, it is “semantics” but it’s also fact. Those who recently came out who are still active in their sports shouldn’t be forgotten just because a Male comes out or somone in a “bigger” sport.

This is in regards to Timothy’s commentary, Mr Collins’ interview states Team Sport, and would still be wrong as Ms Griner came out before he did.

Robert
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

I’ll correct my own statement, I forgot that Griner is not yer playing for Phoenix but is headed there. I got that one wrong. But Mr. Cruz did come out and he got little more than a shrug by the Sports Illustrated crowd. Hopefull his story won’t be lost and he be forgotton.

Timothy Kincaid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Cruz is still boxing and we wrote about him quite extensively here. And of course, Martina Navratilova came out in 1981 when she was still competing. And a number of competitive skaters, including three time national champion Johnnie Weir, and a number of women basketball players and soccer players have competed while openly gay.

However, in American sports the big four are NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. In terms of image, following, televised coverage, sponsorship, ad revenue, compensation, water-cooler conversation, and pretty much any other measure, these four dwarf all other sports activities (other than the Olympics).

This is the barrier that Collins broke and it is a very significant one.

iDavid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

The support in just a few hours is truly a triumph for us all. President Obama called Jason in full support, Michelle Obama sent a supportive tweet and the Boston Red Sox asked him to throw out the ball at an upcoming game. With our first black president and the first playing big league (big three) player to come out also being black, I give my sincerest hat tip to the black community. They make me proud to be an American.

iDavid
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

correction (big four)

Matt
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

The key question is whether any team will sign him for next season since he’s a free agent now. He’s a veteran of the league but he’s not a household name player like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant. He’s more of an “average Joe” journeyman type of player who’s played for a lot of teams and doesn’t have the reputation for being a big scorer throughout his career. Ironically, this may make his coming out publicly go a little smoother than if he were one of those big name stars.

So I guess what it comes down to is, is there a team in the NBA that thinks he can be a productive contributor. While I’d like to be more optimistic, I don’t think any team would sign him just for the sake of signing the first openly gay player in the league, especially after the way Tim Tebow’s whole “career” with the NY Jets went.

StraightGrandmother
April 29th, 2013 | LINK

Nike is already on record as signing the first out major league player. Let’s see if they follow through. So Proud of Jason Collins.

Jeffrey
April 30th, 2013 | LINK

I may have to start watching basketball! This is just great- congratulations to Jason- very brave!

A
April 30th, 2013 | LINK

I understand that it is huge to be the first male gay athlete to come out, but pretending he is the first out American pro sports player is a little offensive.

Timothy Kincaid
April 30th, 2013 | LINK

A,

as best I can find, no one is “pretending” that Collins is “the first out American pro sports player”.

He is, however, the first out American pro sports player in the big four.

If it offends you that the big four are considered to be in another category from other sports events, then I think you are going to go through life being offended an awful lot.

A
April 30th, 2013 | LINK

Oh yeah, I forgot women don’t count. Ok.

Timothy Kincaid
April 30th, 2013 | LINK

Apparently when it comes to bodies sitting on a couch for hours on end watching people run, jump, and throw or kick balls, you’re right, women don’t count. And there’s probably not a whole lot either of us can do about it.

Maybe over time women’s sports will catch up in popularity. But I guess until that happens you can stay in a condition of permanent pissedoffedness and be angry at me for noting that the Big Four barrier has been broken. It doesn’t sound like fun to me, but hey it’s your life.

And maybe over time what I like to watch – HGTV and the various food channels – will also catch up in popularity… but I doubt it. So I’ll choose to not be pissed off that the competitions that I find interesting simply are not as popular as men running at each other in full force and obtaining life debilitating head injuries that won’t be detectable until no one cares about them anymore.

All of this is to say: if you want to be pissed off, that’s your right. But if you’re mad at me, you have the wrong target.

jerry
May 2nd, 2013 | LINK

” I wish that this step is nothing but rewarding and enriching in his life.”

I second that most heartily, but at the same time want to kvetch about the damned granny shorts that hide those gorgeous legs.

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