Check out a related post on Brittney Griner.
I follow professional basketball just enough to talk about the sport with my sons. Before today, I did not know who Jason Collins is. I still don’t know much about his playing career or his ability.
But as of today, Jason Collins is one of my heroes. In an article published on the Sports Illustrated Web page and soon to appear in the print version, Jason Collins left the closet:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
With those words, Jason Collins broke a barrier in sports. He became the first openly gay male athlete to acknowledge his sexual orientation while still active in a major American team sport. I encourage you to read his full statement, but here are some quotes that spoke to me:
The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?
I learned that long ago. Again and again, life has reminded me of that reality. Sometimes I live according to Jason Collins’ wisdom; I hope to do better.
My parents instilled Christian values in me. They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.
I give thanks for his parents and the support they and his faith provide. I pray that all may know such support from family and friends.
Some people insist they’ve never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore. Pro basketball is a family. And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister or cousin who’s gay. In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who’s out.
What is true about NBA players is true for me is true for all of us. Whether we know or whether we do not know, we have all met an LGBTQ person, we have all met many LGBTQ persons. We love LGBTQ persons. LGBTQ persons love us. I know and love LGBTQ persons. I am blessed that LGBTQ persons know and love me.
I give thanks for the witness and courage and faith and grace of Jason Collins. I pray that his actions will make life better, safer, fuller, more human, and more humane for the people I know and love and for all the LGBTQ members of the human family.
See you along the Trail.