Speak Out : Homophobia In Sports


Let me start off by saying that I am not a huge sports person. I never played it in school and never went to a football game my entire time in high school. I went to a technical college and never knew if they even had sports. I don’t watch them but I do enjoy playing soccer.

But I know the level of homophobia that is in sports. I know that there was a football player that said there were no gay players on his team. So when I saw the breaking news that NBA player Jason Collins (who shares my first name) came out as gay, I knew the historic moment that had just happened.

He makes the first athlete in any national league of sports to come out of the closet while actively playing. His statement was: “I’m a 34 year old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” A news article from Yahoo said that he was going to come out years ago but the recent bombing in Boston convinced him that now was the perfect time.

Now I did hear a rumor that someone was about to out him and he decided to come out before that could happen. I don’t think that has been confirmed and whether or not it is true, I for one am glad that he did. He broke the barrier and his coming out has been hailed as a landmark day in American civil rights, just as Jackie Robinson (who’s story is being told in the bio-pic “42”) did in baseball.

He has had his share of support, from the President Obama and Mrs. Obama, to one of my favorite celebrities, Ricky Martin, fellow athletes, among a few. But he has also had some negative feedback. Sportswriter Chris Broussard grouped homosexuality with adultery and premarital sex. On “The Talk” today, they mentioned that some well-known sex advisor was worried about the pressure that this would put on other in-the-closet athletes. Personally, I disagree. If anything, it should be encouraging for others to come out.

What are your thoughts? You think that it’s a good or bad thing that he came out? Do you think that there is a scandal that he was trying to avoid?


There are 30 comments

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  1. Keith

    At 60 I feel and have always thought that “coming out” is a personal and often painful process that should AWAYS be left up to the individual making that choice. I also feel the last person you finally come out to completely is yourself. I think it is always better to live your own truth, and in the long run better for all in your life. We all have gone through that process knowing what the possible losses may be, but I have found that the gains (eventually) more than make up for the losses, but the again is my truth. Whether Jason Collins was trying to avoid a scandal, blaze a trail or just live his truth I applaud his decision and wish him the best. To his detractors, look at your own lives and see how “perfect and true” they are before you comment on anyone else’s path.

  2. Robert

    I think it took a lot of courage for him to come out of the closet and that he is not the only person in professional sports that is gay. I would imagine there are a lot of them. I know that in my high school there were several guys playing foot ball that liked and enjoyed sex with guys. I know because I had sex with them.

  3. G90814

    “there was a football player that said there were no gay players on his team” AS FAR AS HE KNEW….

    There are gay players on most every team of every sport… just that their teammates don’t know because of the stigma that has been put on professional sports.

    Hopefully this is the start of the end of that stigma.

  4. nicholas

    So glad that this proud Africam ameican gentlemen has come out with clas,dignity and intelligence. I tip my hat to him…. well done…anyody else ready to do the same ?

  5. Triolet_USA

    While I’m glad for Jason Collins, what can be, (or is being), done for those of us encounter the same negative attitudes regarding our sexual orientation, who are less famous?

    I’ve personally encountered homophobia in sports, (both online, and on the field), and this is not going to change any hard-core fag-haters. Instead, they are just going to get better at hiding how they feel, (just so they look like they are supportive, but not really), for social reasons.

    I have been instrumental in shutting down one site’s “humor” section that basically trashed the gays, ethnics, women, etc., but not the embedded bashing in the post on the site’s forum.

    I contacted the site’s operators/moderators and listed my objections, what I wanted done about the situation, and they responded by kicking me off the site, (after giving me the tired, old: “…Some of my best friends are…” line).

    The site’s posting were, (and still are), rife with stereotypically homophobic remarks ranging from looking to the gays for fashion advice, to equating being gay with murdering someone, (all in the name of humour, of course)…

    I managed to put enough pressure on them that they shut down their page with the graphics, (they claimed it was for bandwidth reasons), but I refused to tell them where the blatantly offensive material was located, because, (I suspect), they wanted to remove the objectionable content, and then say there is no problem, (i.e. sweep it under the rug, and deny it’s existence)…

    For me, that is the heart of the matter.

    By denying it’s existence, (i.e. removing the homophobic postings from their site), they think that they will not be held accountable for the content, (and yet, they claim ownership of ALL content, on their site). In fact, I have several offensive graphics with their name stamped on the images.

    I am glad that a high profile person finally had the nerve to come out and “live his truth”, but how is that going to help the differently orientated person in the locker room when their clothes are missing/pissed on/trashed/etc., by some basher(s), (who is/are probably working through his/their own issues)…


  6. J

    I think the public would be shocked to know how many gay men there really are in sports.

    Stop and think next time you stand up to cheer your favorite baseball or hockey player. That one player may be into swinging other ‘big sticks.’

  7. tiger

    I think this shows the world that being gay is not the only identity that matters, and that is the point of coming out. We simply want to be able i be free to love who we want and not have it be the proverbial secret letter. This is the purpose of any civil rights movement whether it is the fight fir gay rights today or the fight.for equal rights for Blacks back in the day. The only difference is that today, the most common reference to use against homosexuality is the Bible.

  8. Jose

    homofobe is alive and well in the US, I doubt it will ever be totally obolished in our life time, just as other minoritys are still struggeling for accpetance.

  9. Osei

    Is Jason Collins really the first gay person in sports to come out? No. Greg Louganis, Martina Navratilova, Johnny Weir, Glenn Burke, Brendan Burke, Rudy Galindo, Kwame Harris, Billy Jean King just to name a few Americans.

    Strangely in the interview with Oprah, there seems to be some questions that were never answered. Collins gives the impression that only his german shepherd dog knew that he was gay (and “he was not talking” to quote the bake bean advt). So I guess he thought the individual(s) that he had liaison(s) with did not really figure out that he was gay. To paraphase the Lady Chablis he must have really hid his candy very well.

  10. Greg

    I think it’s high time people stopped making such a big deal about who is gay in any venue. There are gay people in every facet of society and by turning events like these into national news, we are saying that there is still something “wrong” with being gay. I’m sure there are other professional athletes who are gay, and I’m sure his coming out has opened a lot of doors, but until it stops being national news, it won’t stop being something people fear and condemn.

  11. Cuwnicu

    Ok so who wants to know if he’s gay or not, it none of our business..let him sleep with who he wants and let me do the same..Oh I’m sorry that will bring something to the cause, equal what .we still have to fight congress and the narrow minded people.

  12. Randy

    We all have our unique sexual preferences. For anyone to feel they need to make a public announcement of what it is, is being very egotistical.

  13. John

    Some of his detractors, some who know him and the basketball scene a bit more, believe that he did it more for the publicity, so if that’s true, than I don’t quite appreciate what he did. But I guess there’s not way to verify that either.

  14. Dee

    Frankly I don’t really care that he came out. What confuses the hell out of me is: WHAT TE HE’LL DOES THE BOSTON BOMBING HAVE TO DO WITH YOUR PERSONAL SEXIAL PREFERENCE?

    People died and lost limbs, who give a rat’s ass if you’re gay….prick

  15. TDG

    I applaud his courage. I wasn’t out in high school but everyone always assumed I was gay and having sex with men (Didn’t have sex until two years after I graduated). Some guys on my track and baseball team would give me hell. Not to mention the dreadful… locker room. So much crap happened in their to other guys stealing my pants (gross) to guys verbally attacking me; claiming that I was removing their clothes with my eyes when I had no idea they even existed.

    No doubt this will cause much discomfort in the lockerroom with him; let’s face it, many pro athletes have the world view of the average teenager (for some reason). Nevertheless, this is a testament and another blow to the completely outrageous stereotypes associated with gay men.

    Also, he’s gorgeous.

  16. hunter0500

    Jason Collins decided the time for him to come out was …
    a week ago. Longer, in fact, because he came out in Sports Illustrated. There’s a lead time between their writing stories and the time their magazines actually are printed, so really he released it to them many days earlier.

    It was immediately picked up … last week … and reported ever so widely … by every major media outlet in the Western Hemisphere.

    And now suddenly it’s here. The real shame, the real disappointemnt is just that. A week later it’s here and this report purports that team members and managers are homophobic. Supposedly, they don’t know who’s gay and who’s not … and they’re all oh so scared and oh so bigotted. Homophobia in sports? For sure (and for decades) teammates have known who’s gay and who’s not. Homophobia isn’t in the lockeroom, it’s outside.

    And in this case, homophobia is being kept on life support by those who should least be promoting it.

    Major league players across all sports have known and accepted (or in many cases only tolerated) gay team members for years. Why? Because they’re teammates. As far as Jason Collins is concerned, the world has yawned and said “Good for you. Can we go back to playing basketball now?”

  17. Robert

    Coming out is a personal thing but in today’s climate when we are desperately trying to get full rights, the more that come out is better no matter if you’re famous or not. I was outed, forced out of my job as there were no laws to protect me from the abuse. When it doesn’t seem like we are aliens from another planet, just a regular person who happens to be attracted to someone of the same sex, hopefully the stigma will go away. The religious right will never be accepting and I personally could care less what those haters think. I hope Mr. Collins gets as much support as he possibly can to be a good role model. I’d rather see someone from the sports field come out than watch some of the TV shows that are on that don’t even come close to what it is like being a gay man.

  18. Deon

    let me first start off by saying that I am 6 foot 4 29 years old black gay male. was very proud of the fact that Jason came out as gay. I did play high school basketball about 20 miles from K State a very big basketball college and was very lucky in the fact that I went to the same high school where Melissa Etheridge graduated from. I understand that my situation is not normal but because of her I was very comfortable in the fact that I was out and proud and played basketball. although I am NOT a blog person I felt the need to say this to say that tolerance can be can happen it just has to happen on its own time , and by his coming out now he has stated that the time is now!!

  19. Robert

    While not seeking nor wanting validation, he got it from the President of the United States. Times they are a changing, slowly but surely. I think he came out as gracefully as he possibly could have considering his notoriety…Very classy!

  20. Matt H

    I am proud that he came out. Bravo. However, historic or not (Boston Marathon being the impetus or not). I do have to question his actual motivation for it…. First off… he was announced prior to the Boston Marathon as being a free agent (He is not an outstanding player – never was considered even remotely familiar to the public at large). I guess I question his true intentions and whether or not it is a platform for him to utilize. Let’s face it – Otherwise, he would never have been on any magazine cover or news channel. Sorry, I am proud he did it but at who’s cost?

  21. Ernest

    Look I don’t care if he is gay. He was not that great of a player and he is not on a team. This would be a big deal if he was Kobe or a really big name. I don’t want to hear that he is player in the NBA. Let’s make this clear he was not a great player. He came out at the end why didn’t he come out when he still had skills? I will tell you why he would have been kicked out of the lockeroom. It’s only a big deal because he is black. Thats right I said it if he was white it would not be a big deal but he is black that what makes it a big deal. Look at how many teams he was on and look at his numbers before you write me. If he was that great he would have been on one maybe two teams? He has been on four teams and he didn’t come out then. I don’t want to hear that the time was not right crap. He should have just came out that’s what I’m saying. He has two reasons to come out. 1 being black and 2 money. He is hoping that some team would pick him up in the next NBA season. He is 37 and NBA years that’s really really old. Look a Kobe he is in his late 30s and he can’t move like he wants too if I’m a owner why in the Hell would I want to pick him up?so in g I really don’t care about coming out I care about basketball.

  22. Christian

    I think this was great because for once we have a person who is out front and saying you know what I’m tired of living the lie. Their will be no pressure on other pro sports players this will give them the courage and the freedom to take off the chains.

    I’m also tired of straight people giving their advice on what it’s going to be like when they have made the conditions that we are all trying to break. We just want to be human. Not looked at because we happen to love the person that we love. Can people not see what has taken place so many years ago. It was a crime to be gay just like it was a crime for a black man to look at a white woman.

    When you look closely the setting was placed on hate. Don’t hate us we are just human. You don’t want us to have rights but you want us to pay taxes. You want us to shut and hide but die for our country does that remind of history of black people fighting but were together as a troop because black and white could not be together.

    Thank God that someone who is out is in sports is helping break down that damn wall. Thank God that maybe this cold world will begin to see that we are here and we are not leaving and we want to be free to live and love like everyone else in the world.

  23. Matt

    Actually, Martina Navratilova was the first professional athlete to come out while still competing in the game.

  24. Rob

    Good for him, esp if he did it as alternative to killing himself. Bad for Black males all over America. Women, black ones in particular, are giving us brothas the evil side eye, just like when that dude published that DL book. Im married and DL and Im taking it to the grave. Spare me the comments. Do us a favor. Just BE who you are and stop announcing it to the world. It’s getting annoying, cuz we already knew or had a suspicion and accepted you anyway. BTW, coming out only serves as a warning to most straight dudes, esp when it comes to the locker room. Don’t let that shit fool you.

  25. Ernest

    I’m on the DL and I could careless what people think. Look I don’t care if Jason is gay. He was not that good of a player let’s be clear on that. Look up his numbers before you say anything. He will never be in the basketball hall of fame. What are people going to say its a good thing that he came out? We live in a time when you can’t say anything about what not liking gays at all. I don’t want to hear how gays have it hard. Try being black and have everything taken away from you to the point where you don’t know anything about your history. We live in a time where you can’t say anything about anyone. So I don’t want to hear anything about Jason being gay. Don’t pat him on the back because he was a gay basketball star. He was not that great of a player. So fucking get over it please.

  26. Yomosa

    I am pleased to learn that Jason Collins gained the courage to accept his sexuality, instead of allowing himself to become what others want him to be!

  27. Nolan

    If by “actively playing” you mean “without a team or a contract…” We will see how much progress has been made in the NBA when we find out if he ever plays again.

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