Our view: Taking a stand

DKS Editors

NBA center Jason Collins made history today after a Sports Illustrated story titled “Why NBA center Jason Collins is coming out now” made him the first openly gay professional athlete playing a major American sport.

In the self-written story, Collins, who is currently a free agent, said he decided to come out publicly because he wanted to support the gay rights movement. He explained that he was angry he couldn’t support something he believed in because of being in the closet, and now was the time to come out to show his support.

“I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different,’” Collins wrote. “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

Though there has been some inevitable backlash to Collins’ story, the response we’ve seen on Twitter has been overwhelmingly positive. Amongst plenty of celebrity tweets, politicians such as President Bill Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated and thanked Collins for his courage via press releases and Twitter.

But more importantly, we think, came the supportive tweets from other professional athletes that seemed to flood Twitter, proving that the homophobe jock stereotype is just that — a stereotype. The tweets came from other basketball players, football players, rugby players and golfers, all thanking Collins for stepping forward and applauding his bravery.

The overwhelmingly positive response from the world of sports show that we are making progress as a culture to be more accepting. We’re grateful that we can see this historic moment come and go, and we’re looking forward to a future where no one will have to compromise being themselves or standing up for what they believe in.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.