Jason Collins shows courage by coming out as gay, and the NBA displays tolerance by embracing him.
Jason Collins said he didn’t set out to become the first openly gay athlete on a major American professional sports team. But, as the journeyman NBA player wrote for Sports Illustrated this week, “I’m happy to start the conversation.”
If Collins had revealed his sexuality at the beginning of his 12-year career, the disclosure would have sent shock waves through the sports world and might have diminished his earnings potential. That’s why other gay athletes on professional teams had remained closeted until retiring. But when Collins’ first-person article hit the Internet on Monday, players, coaches, league executives and image-conscious shoe sponsor Nike issued unequivocal statements of support. President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton also saluted the athlete.