Opinion: Good for Jason Collins



Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

When I heard about Jason Collins coming out as gay, I just said to myself, “Oh God, fire up the hate speeches and let’s get this over with.” But aside from the angle asking what his ex-fiancee thought of him coming out, it was all very positive. Sports Illustrated even put his face on the cover of this week’s magazine as “The Gay Athlete.” With all of this, I just want to say good for him.I do love that our society — mainstream society, at least — is becoming more accepting of celebrities being gay, that it might not hurt their popularity and might even increase their popularity from people praising them for being so brave for coming out. But at the same time, I really don’t want people to dwell on someone coming out. This isn’t a matter that should be milked until it becomes a joke, or so overused that it loses its edge. It should be announced, commented on and done with by the end of the week. A little “Did you hear?” and “Guess what happened?” and we’re done. That’s what’s going on right now, and as long as I don’t keep hearing about this for the next few weeks, I’m fine with that.But we still praise and commend them for what they do; their sexuality really isn’t the public’s business in the first place. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with why or how they are famous, and if they are still able to do what they have been doing to be famous and just have a more open lifestyle the way they always wanted, well, good for them.But I get that this is different because this is a sports celebrity. Sports is a fandom commonly and traditionally celebrated by heterosexual and sometimes homophobic males (again, sports are for all people, but I’m just saying its representatives are clear), so it’s a new era for people to be openly gay.

But would you think a sports celebrity would lose support or popularity because of coming out? What would happen if the Cleveland Indians’ Drew Stubbs left his girlfriend because he’s really in love with some guy from New Jersey named Todd? Trick question: that’s drama, and drama sells news, but the affair would be what people should care about, not the sexuality.

Now say that Danica Patrick came out of nowhere and said she was gay. Would it be right to have a media storm? Would it be right to interview her for weeks and find people from her past relationships and ask them questions?How far as the media and the public can we go until the subjected celebrity is being mocked or judged too harshly for his or her sexuality? It may just depend on the person who announced it knowing full well what may happen.For now, things seem to be looking up for being openly gay, but let’s not make it a circus; they’ve been this way since they’ve been born, and the least (and perhaps sometimes the most) we can do is to just say, “cool.”