Jason Collins' Announcement is Puzzling

The sports world is abuzz today because Jason Collins announced that he was gay.  It was reported that he was the first openly gay current player to come out.  I would have to disagree with that statement.  First of all, Jason Collins is an unsigned free agent.  Currently, he is on no one's roster.  He received a slew of congratulatory calls from the President and others.  Kobe Bryant, who was fined for making homophobic statements, tweeted.  Chris Broussard, of ESPN, condemned him to hell for immoral behavior.  I definitely disagree with his statements but I reiterate, Jason Collins is not signed to any team and is therefore openly gay, but not currently an NBA player.

I remember when John Ameche announced that he was gay.  He was living in London at the time and it was a safe decision.  Recently, Will Sheridan, who played for Villanova, came out as gay.  He had a real informative interview on ESPN and I applaud him for his honesty.  As a father of two children I have to be prepared for whatever announcements my children will make to me.  I will not be anti-anything honest and respectful.  I feel sorry for the person that has to live a repressed life that does not reflect who they really are.

There was a soccer player from the United States, Robbie Rogers, that announced that he was gay.  Even though he still had the skills to compete at the pro level, he retired at twenty five years of age.  I think that it is a shame that he feels that he could not continue in his sport.  I agree that gay women athletes have an easier time being accepted while still playing pro sports.  Megan Rapinoe, a professional woman soccer player announced and is still playing.  Sheryl Swoopes announced towards the end of her playing days.  Brittney Griner, the #1 pick in the WNBA draft came out and it was not a surprise to me.  I was shocked when Chamique Holdsclaw, who will probably go to jail, shot up the car of her former girlfriend.

I attended a training session on the experiences of LGBTQI individuals in recovery, resilience & self-determination.  The panel featured a transgendered person, a bisexual person a gay person and a lesbian.  Many in the audience were gay or questioning.  As I continue to work in the social service arena, I need to be aware of dealing with individuals of all orientations.  Most had used alcohol or drugs to ease the pain of realizing their true identities.  I am more understanding of the trauma many of these not so famous individuals have in trying to live fulfilling lives.

Having the athletic skill to compete at the professional level is a dream of many young people growing up.  Fame, fortune and adulation often accompany the association of your name with that high level of perfection.  I guess it is a shame to then be judged on your sexual orientation.  I wouldn't want my child to suffer the insults of whatever names people call you now.  I will not repeat anything I ever used when I was young.  As I have matured, I realize the error of my ways.  I just feel that in the situation of Jason Collins, he is taking advantage of his orientation, at the end of his career, in hopes of obtaining a pro contract.

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