Of course, with the Internet and social media, it’s practically old news that Jason Collins, center with the Washington Wizards, came out as gay. But even as it’s no longer new news, it’s still huge. Huge for Jason, of course — when talking about not coming out sooner, he explained that he needed “more time to cook” (read Sports Illustrated for the whole story) — and huge for professional sports. The big man who wears number 98 (silently until now) in honor of the memory of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in 1998, is the first professional team athlete to come out. He has now stepped into the limelight as an example, I hope, for other professional athletes and certainly as a role model for kids, showing that, just like with all people, gays and lesbians come in all colors, shapes, sizes, degrees of athletic ability, and toughness, among so many other things. There’s no single way to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and Jason Collins has stepped out of the shadows to show us just one more piece of the puzzle. Albeit a 7-foot piece.
Congratulations, Jason, and thank you. Professional sports are such a huge part of some kids lives, hopes and dreams that your actions, I truly believe, will have an impact on many.