Jason Collins became the first openly gay professional athlete in one of the four major sports on Monday.
Brave decision to come out of closet? Yes, but let’s put this into perspective.
Is this a Jackie Robinson moment? Absolutely not. Robinson obviously couldn’t hide the fact that he was black. Collins hid the fact that he was gay his entire life. Collins may have some trouble down the line with some fans and a few players, but equating it with what Jackie Robinson did is ridiculous.
How hard was it for Collins to come out? Probably very hard but he has tremendous support. He knew he would get tremendous support. Think of it like this: When a 13-year-old kid comes out of the closet, he or she doesn’t get a call from President Obama and former President Clinton. No tweets from Ellen and Kobe. No Facebook messages from celebrities.
The 13-year-old gay kid gets bullied at school.
The 13-year-old kid who comes out of the closet doesn’t get book deals and won’t be hired at a pretty penny for speaking engagements, but a very average NBA player at the end of his career will if he says he is gay.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish Collins the best. It was a brilliant business move as well. He was the first athlete to tell the world that he’s gay. Brave? Yes.
But how brave?
Not as brave the 13-year-old who struggles to say, “I’m not going to hide who I am.”
Not as brave as the 13-year-old who deals with the playground bullies everyday.
Not as brave as the 13-year-old who tells his/her parents that they are gay.
The 13-year-old kid who comes out of the closet. That’s amazing bravery.