Open Thread: NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out

by Joseph Lamour


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It’s Gay Sports Day here at the R, and really, shouldn’t every day be Gay Sports Day?

Jason Collins, currently with the Washington Wizards, reveals in the next issue of Sports Illustrated that he is a gay NBA player.

“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.”

This is the first time a current athlete in any US major sport has come out of the closet. If you remember, former professional soccer player Robbie Rogers came out, but only after he retired abruptly earlier this year. And across the pond, a professional rugby player, Gareth Thomas, came out in 2009. It’s about time the States followed suit.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Keisha

    Let’s not forget Sheryl Swoopes who was initially married with a newborn (I still remember those hilarious commercials for the beginning of the WNBA) who came out as lesbian at the height of her career (she was a part of the big three: Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson) when the Houston Comets were the first franchise team in the WNBA. While I find this amazing, and understand the importance, that he is able to come out as an openly gay man while being active in the NBA, I wished that they would use different wording. It is a BIG gender bias when Collins (who is not that well known of a player) can come out as the “first” LGBTQ active athlete and get praise and accolades and makes big news while Brittney Griner, who is first pick and about the change the entire game of the WNBA, gets pressured into revealing her sexual identity and then gets a blip in the news when she finally discloses her sexual identity.

  • Roger Green

    Regardless of his ranking (I think the article said current athlete in a major sport, meaning boxing, tennis and the WNBA don’t count?), it’s a significant event. I think Glenn Burke was out to his teammates, but I was unaware he was out until he retired.

  • Bethly

    It is the first time any male athlete has come out of the closet. Plenty of women have over the years, many facing enormous backlash.

    I am glad that men are finally feeling safe enough to come out of the closet, but I hope we can celebrate their courage without erasing the women that paved the way.

    • Erika

      Orlando Cruz, a boxer, came out last year. Boxing is not as big here in the US as basketball is, I know, and I am not certain if Orlando Cruz was the first male athlete to come out, but Jason Collins is not. I applaud his actions, though, and hope that other athletes, male and female, feel more comfortable being their full selves in the future.

  • marumori

    Jason Collins is a huge deal, but he’s not the first. Glenn Burke was out while playing baseball in the 70’s. He invented the high five, and his extremely promising career was cut short by homophobia.

  • Monica Roberts

    Forgot about Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury’s center who just came out as a lesbian…

    • Elton

      A lesbian WNBA player isn’t news. I’m not exactly sure why.

      • EinSC

        Probably because a lot of people think that most female athletes are lesbians.

    • Pellinore

      Hhmm, but I think in her case it really wasn’t about her coming out. In her interview she expressed being open about her sexuality. And it wasn’t a big portion of her interview. I feel some people are just capitalizing on the information. But I do see your point. A lot of the “coming out” has mostly been people anticipating male athletes coming out as gay, not really that concerned with women. Or even people expressing other sexualities or non-monogamous relationships. Like I’ve never heard much interest in bisexuals, asexuals, etc., coming out.