It’s the Monday after the NFL draft and the NBA playoffs are in full swing. But today, Jason Collins, a journeyman basketball payer who averaged just over 1 point per game in the past season, is the leading sports story. The reason is that Collins declared himself the first openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport.
The announcement garnered an outpouring of support, as admirers praised Collins for being willing to come out as gay in a field in which homosexuality has been particularly stigmatized. Others didn’t think Collins' announcement should be much of a story.
I find myself in both camps. I recognize the significance of Collins’ decision and admire the courage required to make it. But I also hope that his announcement will help pave the way for a time when it isn’t a major news story when a professional athlete reveals his sexual orientation, because it doesn’t really matter.
Though the decision of an aging NBA center to come out as gay is a big deal now, ideally, it shouldn’t be.