Day Eighty-Four: Jason Collins

by Tom Noonan

There isn’t much more to be written that hasn’t already been put so perfectly to page by the man himself.  In a tremendously moving personal essay appearing in the next issue of Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins didn’t just depart into the uncharted territory of being an openly gay athlete in a major professional league, he also managed to channel the right tone for a discussion of sexuality in sport to finally formally find traction.  For all the courage it took to write this article, it is the way Mr. Collins wrote it that may be his biggest accomplishment, remaining both honest and hopeful, managing to represent both the struggle and the beauty of his journey, and reminding us gently that love is love, brothers are brothers, and basketball is just that: basketball.

“Everyone is terrified of the unknown, but most of us don’t want to return to a time when minorities were openly discriminated against. I’m impressed with the straight pro athletes who have spoken up so far — Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo. The more people who speak out, the better, gay or straight. It starts with President Obama’s mentioning the 1969 Stonewall riots, which launched the gay rights movement, during his second inaugural address. And it extends to the grade-school teacher who encourages her students to accept the things that make us different.”