May 6, 2013

We’re starting to feel the Jason Collins effect

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball, Soccer

It has been quite a week for homosexuals in professional sports.

In case you hadn’t heard – which might have been impossible for anybody that even looked at the Internet this week – NBA veteran Jason Collins became the first active player to come out of the closet in North American sports.

That started a whirlwind of commentary and general praise for a guy who was never really that good of a player. Let’s face it: Nobody will ever remember Collins for his play on the court. But that’s beside the point and would only diminish what he has done to break down this barrier.

Unfortunately, while there has been heaps of positivity, there have been idiotic negative comments as well. Mike Wallace’s comments on Twitter were perhaps the most well-known, but I’m sure we all had some ignorant fools on our Facebook timelines comment about Collins.

I personally saw a lot of comments like: “We’ve always known there are gays in sports, look at so-and-so.” These are the immature people that make it tough for people to come out of the closet. These are the people that need to grow up and get with the times.

And while a lot of the press went to Collins, we shouldn’t forget about Robbie Rogers either though. The MLS player came out of the closet and immediately retired back in February.

Now, less than a week after Collins’ announcement, Rogers is contemplating a comeback. After all, it was sort of weird that a 25-year-old with U.S. national team experience would simply hang them up that abruptly.

Maybe it was Collins breaking down that barrier that convinced him to give it another go.

But, the biggest news of the week may have been the report in The Guardian that eight players in England’s Premier League have come out to teammates. How much longer can those players stay in the closet with that report getting out?

We’ve also heard the story about four gay NFL players who were considering coming out during a joint news conference earlier this year. Is that the next big thing to come out on this front?

Really, now that the wall has been broken, we could start seeing a flood of players to join Collins as active homosexual athletes – and it’s about time. With gay marriage becoming legal in more places and with being gay becoming more socially acceptable, there’s no reason it should be taboo.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

Leave a Reply