McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

April 30, 2013

Jason Collins should open floodgates

McALESTER — Somewhere in this country, there’s a 16-year-old boy who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 210 pounds. He has a three-foot jump, great speed and a solid hands.

This boy would be a star on any varsity basketball team, and colleges would fall over each other trying to recruit him. But this boy isn’t playing sports, and it’s not because he doesn’t want to.

It’s because this boy is gay. And absent any openly gay professional athletes to act as role models, this boy is afraid if pursuing a life that would mean years of pain and deception.

That boy’s life got a whole lot easier Monday, when center Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in the NBA. Collins, a free agent when this season ends, played for the Boston Celtics and then Washington Wizards this season.

People like Collins and top WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner have made it clear that whether or not they announce it, there are already plenty of gay and lesbian athletes playing professional sports. Hopefully more come out in the coming months.

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