Sports Illustrated explains story behind Jason Collins scoop, shows need for qualifiers

Sports Illustrated | The New York Times | Reuters | Outsports

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.)

So salute Collins' bravery, but remember the qualifiers. Here's a rather qualified Reuters lede (via Politico reporter Dylan Byers, who tweeted that it could be better qualified.)

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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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