THE FIRST

It has been rumored for weeks and talked about like never before on every sports program all across the country.  The speculation has been growing; everyone wants to know how athletes and the public would react to an openly gay athlete.  Well now we know with Jason Collins who has come out publicly and said he is gay.  Collins is now the first active player to come out in a major American team sport.  In his own words Collins says “it’s time to live my life genuinely.”

So who is Jason Collins? Collins who came out and shared his story with Sports Illustrated stated “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” He attended Stanford with Chelsea Clinton.  He has played 12 seasons on several different teams – the last team before becoming a free agent the Washington Wizards.  While with the Wizards he played 38 games and averaged 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds a game.

Jason Collins is now the face of a movement one that so far is getting a positive reaction from those on social media.  Those in the sports world are congratulating and offering support and even former President Bill Clinton issued a statement “I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community,”

But as we all know for all those who offer support there will be those who will condemn and disagree with everything Jason stands for.  That is their right and those who disagree for whatever reason shouldn’t be persecuted.  They have a right to their opinions and beliefs – we all do.  It’s okay to agree to disagree and then we need to keep the conversation going.  Face it, this is going to be a long road for Collins – he is now the “gay” athlete and everyone will want to know more about him.

I applaud Jason – he didn’t have to do this.  It’s really none of our business but I believe his story will save lives.  Someone out there – another adult or kid doesn’t have to be afraid to come out and like Jason this now gives them a chance to live their life genuinely.  Isn’t that what life is about? Loving who you are and being what you were meant to be – I like to think so.