The day has come
posted Apr 29 2013, 06:59PM
posted in NBA, Analysis

It has been long speculated when an active member of a major American professional sports team would come out from the shadows and openly admit to being gay, and on April 29, 2013 that day arrived. 

Jason Collins, 34, a member of the NBA’s Washington Wizards is the first openly gay American athlete who participates in a team sport.

Collins has been a role player, known primarily for his defense, throughout his twelve year NBA career. The seven-footer from Stanford has averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game, but will be remembered more for his sexual orientation than his basketball exploits.   

Collins never anticipated being “that guy,” but relishes the opportunity.

“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.”

Collins was not the first and most certainly will not be the last gay athlete to participate in professional team sports, but hopefully his announcement will lead to more gay athletes opening up about their sexuality.

As a professional athlete you are constantly in the spotlight, and for an athlete to have to suppress their real emotions and sexuality because they fear being accepted by their peers, and society as a whole, is very unfortunate.

I hope that Collins’ admission will be the first significant strike to help break down the barrier in professional sports, but I am uncertain if that ideal will come to fruition, especially in a sport like football.

Football is one of the most masculine sports in the world and locker room dynamics are critical for a team’s success, and I do not think an openly gay teammate would sit well with a lot of players and organizations.

Former Raven linebacker Brandon Ayanbadejo and soon to be former Viking punter Chris Kluwe are two of the biggest advocates for equal rights in the NFL and the publicity both players have received for their efforts have not sat well with their respective organizations. The Ravens deny cutting Ayanbadejo for his advocacy of gay rights, but some Viking coaches have voiced displeasure with Kluwe’s activism.

Though not as significant as April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Collins announcement has opened the airways wide open about gay athletes, and hopefully the support he has received will enable others to follow suit.

Kayvon Padidar
I am 24 years old and a military veteran. I recently graduated from The Ohio State University and was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I am a sports...

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