In his account of the story behind Sports Illustrated’s massive Jason Collins scoop, Executive Editor Jon Wertheim notes Collins has become “the first active male athlete in a major U.S. team sport to come out of the closet. Yes, that’s a lot of qualifiers.”
They’re necessary. As Jim Buzinski told The New York Times’ Sam Borden earlier this month on the occasion of No. 1 WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner’s coming out: “Can you imagine if it was a man who did the exact same thing? Everyone’s head would have exploded.”
Martina Navratilova came out in 1981 when she was midway through her spectacular tennis career. Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe came out before the Olympics. And John Amaechi came out after his NBA career ended. (Here’s Outsports’ collection of coming-out stories.)
Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins, a veteran center in the National Basketball Association (NBA), announced that he is gay, becoming the first active player from any U.S. professional sports league to publicly reveal his homosexuality.