We support NBA's Jason Collins


Jason Collins is an NBA center. This season he played for the Boston Celtics and more recently for the Washington Wizards. Also, he is gay. This is great, and a landmark moment in American sports.
Collins is the now the first openly gay athlete in any of America's four major sports. Collins is a 12-year veteran with no All-Star appearances and probably only known to a handful of NBA enthusiasts. But the fact that he is not only coming out to the public, but coming out via the cover story of the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated (SI released the story online Thursday) makes his announcement that much more special.
We applaud Collins for his bravery and hopefully starting what is a long conversation about it means to be male in America.
But one of the best parts about the Collin's announcement is how normal it feels.
This feels like the result of an attitude shift that has been ongoing for the past few years. The NBA was forced to first address gay slurs in April of 2011 when perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant called a referee a "faggot." The Association fined him $100,000. Then it took a public stand in its "Not Cool" campaign starring 17 year vet Grant Hill urging audiences to stop using the word "gay" as an insult. Now Collins, who writes a beautifully thoughtful and articulate essay for SI, is taking one more step to stifle homophobia in the NBA, and maybe in America.
As award-winning journalist and news anchor Hank Plante wrote in a column for the San Francisco Chronicle this January, the war for gay rights is nearing an end. Yes, the legislation has yet to come, but the public support and sentiment is there. For the youth in both the left and right, the question surrounding homosexuals in America is not "should gay marriage be legalized?" But instead the question lies in why would we should need to have the discussion at all.
This is probably not the end for Collins. If he plays for another team in the NBA next season, he will most likely be cheered or harassed and everything in between. But the good news is that his announcement to America is being seen as a positive and something that is not only okay, but inevitable. It is the first step in rectifying a sports and masculine culture that has been in the dark for too long.