I don’t understand the “big deal” comments in reaction to Jason Collins’ coming out as gay.
It actually is a big deal.
While there have been many women in pro sports who have already made the leap out of the closet, the double standard still holds firm for male pro athletes. Thanks to Jason, that double standard may soon start to weaken.
Collins set a big milestone by coming out as a gay, black, male professional athlete, currently active in the NBA. Anyone with a sense of social awareness and empathy can see how significant and ‘risky’ this is, both to Jason and his career as an NBAer.
Before some people toss forward their “big deal” comments, maybe they should try to place themselves in Collins’ shoes, and think about the struggles he had to go through in making the decision to come out publicly, and acknowledge the uncharted territory through which Collins is travelling.
How about placing themselves in the shoes of current athletes, young or old, pro or amateur who know they are gay and struggle with coming out, and can now can seek inspiration from Jason Collins’ bravery?
Hopefully Collins is the first of many people who will start to chip away at the status quo, and show people that you can be an NFLer, an NHLer or an NBAer and still lead an open and authentic life.
So yes…it is a big deal.