BY NADINE ANTOINE
SC STAFF WRITER
On April 29, Washington Wizards veteran center, Jason Collins, became the first active player in the four major professional sports leagues of America to publicly come out as a homosexual.
On Sports Illustrated’s website and cover story for their May 6 print issue, an article written by Collins himself, “The Gay Athlete,” begins with the first three sentences saying, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
He talked about his not setting out to be the first openly gay athlete.
He wrote about maintaining his privacy, as to specific details about his personal life, reactions from family members, and his time playing in the NBA.
The reaction to active gay athletes has always been a topic of discussion, especially when it came to matters of the locker room.
Collins’ announcement received praises and well wishes from many, such as current NBA players, like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, as well as NBA commissioner David Stern.
President Barack Obama, and former president Bill Clinton, whose daughter Chelsea attended college with Collins, also sent their best wishes.
ESPN basketball analyst Chris Broussard sparked controversy when he stated that he did not believe that Collins could live an openly homosexual lifestyle and also be a Christian.
Collins responded stating, “This is all about tolerance and acceptance and America is the best country in the world because we’re all entitled to our opinions and beliefs but we don’t have to agree.”
Collins’ ex-fiancée, a former women’s professional basketball player, also expressed her feelings as she learned of his sexual orientation just before the article was released.
They were in an 8-year relationship but Collins called off their engagement in 2009.
The negative comments were overshadowed by the many supportive ones he received as he turned to Twitter to further express how thankful he was.
“All the support I have received today is truly inspirational. I knew that I was choosing the road less traveled but I’m not walking it alone.” Collins tweeted
“The Gay Athlete” drew a record of 3.7 million unique visitors to the Sports Illustrated magazine’s website.
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