April 29, 2013 is a date that will live in infamy for the Sports world. The reason that date will live in infamy is not because of anything that happened on the court, field, or ice-rink. Instead, the reason the date will be remembered for decades to come is that it is when the first active professional athlete came out and announced that he is gay.
34-year-old NBA free agent Jason Collins in an interview with Sports Illustrated announced that he was gay. In the interview, which will be published in the May 6th edition of Sports Illustrated, Collins demonstrates incredible bravery and courage by being the first active professional athlete to come out and announce he is gay. Collins indicates that he did not want to be the first athlete to do so, but, he hopes that other athletes find inspiration in his actions and follow his lead.
There has been nothing but praise and support for his decision to announce his sexuality. Many Chicago athletes and sports celebrities have announced their support for Collins as well.
Chicago Cubs’ second baseman Darwin Barney suggests that everyone is connected to the “gay community” in one way or another:
“I think it’s kind of a benign thing,” second baseman Darwin Barney said. “Everyone is connected (to the gay community) in some way, whether it’s a family member or a friend. I have family members that are (gay). That’s the way of life and I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal. I think he’ll be protected just fine and I (wish) the best for him.”-Darwin Barney, Chicago Tribune
Chicago Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum thinks Collins’ decision will encourage other athletes to do so:
“I think everybody is entitled to do whatever they want in their life,” he said. “I don’t think it changes anything. I think it might help a lot of other people. It’s part of our culture and society now, and there’s nothing wrong with what people do with their lives.
“We’re all different human beings. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It could end being a good thing in the long run.”-Dale Sveum, Chicago Tribune
Chicago Bulls’ point guard Kirk Hinrich, was a former teammate of Collins, says nothing has changed with the kind of person that Collins is:
“I was surprised,” said the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich, a Collins teammate in Atlanta. “But it’s his business. I don’t like people trying to tell me how to live my life. He was a good teammate, a good guy. It’s really not significant to me. It doesn’t really change what kind of person he is.” -Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Tribune
It is days like this past Monday that make the sports world an incredible industry to cover. Because on a day like Monday; there are no teams; there are no rivalries; the only thing that is existent is unity.