Compared to the hell Jackie Robinson went through, Jason Collins is getting a ticker tape parade.
Collins, a 12-year National Basketball Association player, recently wrote a column in which he announced that he is gay: “I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay (male) athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.”
When comedian Ellen DeGeneres came out in 1997, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the earth-shattering headline, ‘Yep, I’m Gay.’ With a general population that surveys put at about 4 percent homosexual (although estimates run as high as 5 to 10 percent), is anyone surprised that, in a country of 10,000 or so pro athletes, gay male athletes exist? After all, the WNBA, the NBA’s sister league, features several openly gay players. When the league’s top draft pick, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, recently “came out,” the media and fans said “ho-hum.” But when Collins came out, he became front-page news as the first male to do so.