When NBA center Jason Collins announced he was gay, I wondered whether his decision to speak up would encourage other gay athletes in major team sports to speak up or bolt the door even tighter.

It didn’t take long for some in the blogosphere to say that the 34-year-old free agent’s announcement might make that work status permanent.

Within a couple of hours, the Miami Dolphins’ Mike Wallace tweeted, “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (shakin’ my head) …”

Wallace later deleted the tweet and apologized if he offended anyone. The Dolphins organization also repudiated the remarks.

“It’s now clear that tolerance has become a monetary [issue]: Intolerant and you run the risk of people not coming to see your team play. Translation: Owners need to squash that [shiggedy] immediately,” said Michael Andre Adams, a freelance writer based in Atlanta.

It’s not that the 7-foot, 255 pound Collins is the first athlete to announce he is gay, just the first active-player in a major professional sport to do so.

The 34-year-old Collins appeared in 32 games this season for the Boston Celtics and also played for the Washington Wizards this season.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” Collins wrote in an article for Sports Illustrated, due to hit stands May 6. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Some activities – ice skating and dance for example – seem to be safe for gay men. But Sports? Sports with a capital ‘S’ and all the macho intent behind it has never been the place where it has been safe to admit to being anything other than an aggressive, woman-chasing he-man.

It starts with youth league sports, when coaches often tell boys they play “like a girl” or drop the other f-bomb when criticizing what they see as the team’s lack of effort. In turn, boys learn to, at best, hide interest in anything that is deemed “gay” and, at worst, publicly denigrate it.

Dance, for example, requires athletic performance and strength to carry ballerinas who look small and fragile, but are packed with muscle and heavy to lift. But somewhere along the way, it picked up a reputation for being “soft.”

“When people poke fun at dancers I tend to take it personal because I was once a dancer and got the same treatment. Fortunately, I ignore such things and stand up for others who are in the dance industry,” said Jawaan Bivins, who is now a substitute teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

“Sometimes the older kids will bully teachers they believe are gay into a corner until they crack and some teachers ignore the rumors and keep it moving,” Bivins said.

“The kids tend to ask at all of the inappropriate times. (I) had that happen last week while waiting for the kids to be dismissed from lunch. One student asked me in front of 120 students. My response was ‘What’s your point?’”

Adams said for black folks, who already feel put upon because of race, coming out of the closet is simply a double whammy.

“We’ve had enough. First of all, we’re black,” Adams said. “When you do something bold and daring like [coming out] you have to deal with a lot of stuff… You’re already seen as not equal.”

While Collins is the first active player to come out, neither he nor former players who announced their orientation after their playing days were over, have the super-star stature of a LeBron or a Kobe.

Might they now be emboldened to come forward?

“They probably are going to wait and see how people treat Collins,” Adams said, noting that society has become more tolerant of gay rights issues and that sports is now the perfect arena to shoot down intolerance and hypocrisy.

He also took to task ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, who has said in the past that he believed the NBA was ready for an openly gay player, but more recently that some non-gay athletes might be uncomfortable showering alongside a gay teammate.

But he also said he believed that homosexuality was a sin and “walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”

“I hear these people talking about, ‘According to the Bible’ it is wrong; but what about guys and sports?” Adams said, referring to Broussard’s remarks. “C’mon. These guys are major ho’s. Are you aware of scriptures about fornication? That’s never mentioned in this conversation.”

So the debate has begun, but for Jason Collins the conversation can be held out loud.

(Photo: AP)

20 thoughts on “Collins Comes Out; Let the Debate Begin

  1. Hollywood Henn on said:

    Why does anyone (celebrity or athlete) need to make an announcement to say they are “Gay or Homosexual”; is ths suppose to be seen as a victory for LGBT. I support C. Broussard, he was asked a question and he answered it. Nothing is to great for God…..except being gay? homosexual?……Are we praising the same God???

  2. people'smindsneedanenema on said:

    “walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.” -Chris Broussard

    The unfortunate thing is, I see this everyday. Too many immoral things have become socially accepted.

    Homosexuality, adultery, fornication, and a host of other things are sin. Yet, they have become the norm. And, it’s truly sad. We even have our government taking God and prayer out of school.

    We have different forms of religion with different denominations. But, the majority have one common belief….. GOD!!!!

    People need to wake up.

  3. Shanda on said:

    I don’t care whether he’s gay or not that’s a bedroom thing and should be personal. Only person who should know is the person u r with.. Coming out of the closet should not mean airing publicly as if we care…news flash, all of us don’t care

  4. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    I hear you M. The DOWN LOW (a fancy name for men who sleep with men while they are with a woman) is LOW DOWN. If you want to be a gay man keep the straight woman out of it.

  5. The Pres. damn near got impeached for making a perfectly respectable compliment about the intelligent and beautiful Kamala Harris (which is really a compliment to our wonderful God for his beautiful creation called woman as a help meet), yet society is perfectly fine with him praising Collins for basically announcing that he is attracted to men????? Wow…

  6. The Cisco Kid on said:

    But the President called him, and told him that he was “impressed by his courage,” and the First Lady tweeted that she is “so proud” of him! Surely that means we all must applaud and celebrate with them, right?? After all, Chris Rock said they’re the “Mom and Dad of the country.” We must follow our parents’ example! How ’bout it? Hmm??

    • Valerie on said:

      Oh Hell no! I don’t understand why THE PRESIDENT of the USA had to make a special call to this person…..?????? I don’t get it?!!!? I guess Barack don’t give a damn anymore either? Puzzling.

  7. Mystique on said:

    Like it or not, I pray that my children will not ever get that “spirit” on them. Abomination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Mystique on said:

    Personally, I don’t want a gay man (on the down low) to give me aids. If a man is gay then he should tell the woman before he messes up her life or kill her with aids.

  9. I don’t get why he said I’m black. We can see that, and being black has nothing to do with him being gay. There are gay people of all ethicities. And why are SOME christians always trying to push their beliefs off on people as to their beliefs regarding gay people. My point is that everyone is not a christian and hold the beliefs of christians. SOME religious people are too judgmental for me, and pick, and chose so-called sin.

    • Mystique on said:

      I ask myself the same question about gay people pushing their preference off on other people that are not gay. Religious or not, I don’t want that pushed off on me either.

  10. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    Wow just read he had a finace, they had been together for 8 YEARS and he broke off the engagement because he was gay. Now is he the hero for announcing he was gay or is she the hero for dealing with his LIES during the relationship.

  11. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    YAWNNNNN who cares. Just like DL said I think that it is a shame that our heroes are defined now by who they do instead of what they do. I wanna see what some ex-girlfriends got to say about that. Did he break any laws by not telling them.

    • Shanda on said:

      ITA who cares…I’m not walking around with a billboard stating my sexual preference why can’t that be accepted

  12. msyellarose on said:

    I don’t understand why people feel it necessary to put their entire lives out in public. It’s called a personal life for a reason. So you’re gay, fine.

  13. LOL if they would just keep that sit in the closet we’d all be alright!
    Ask gov Quomo and gov christi-can you say SANDY
    Lemme see – what does Sodom n Gomarah,aids,child malestation,have in common?

    Please wit dat sit

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