ESC

Jason Collins Becomes the First Openly Gay Active American Pro Athlete

At 34, Jason Collins has become the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. That sounds really specific but it’s actually big news. He writes on Sports Illustrated,

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. 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.

My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.

Collins and his twin brother were drafted into the NBA in 2001. He didn’t come out to his twin until last summer. What’s even crazier is he’s publicly coming out while he’s a free agent.

Of course, one of the major concern for athletes who have an openly gay teammate is how they’ll act around them. Especially in the locker room. I think the straight male mindset is always, “Will this gay guy try to play grab ass with me in the shower?”

Collins writes, “Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn’t an issue before, and it won’t be one now. My conduct won’t change. I still abide by the adage, ‘What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.’ I’m still a model of discretion.”

I’m not sure why some guys are uncomfortable around gays in the locker room. Have you seen the stuff that goes on in there? Even a gay dude would tell some of those guys to stop acting like homos.

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