NBA center Jason Collins authored a piece for Sports Illustrated today that began with three very powerful sentences: ”I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” Many have noted that this makes Collins the first openly gay male major American professional sports player and Collins explained that this is one of the reasons he felt it was time to speak. Collins wrote eloquently about his journey through the NBA, as well as his journey from keeping a big secret about himself to coming out and feeling comfortable in his own skin. The piece is incredibly honest and raw and Collins’ bravery has been praised all over the Internet this morning. Bill Clinton tweeted ”I’m proud to call Jason Collins a friend,” the NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement ending, ”We are proud [Collins] has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue,” and Jason Collins’ Twitter following has skyrocketed from about 4,000 to over 18,000 and growing.
However, along with praise there have been a number of ugly comments as well. The Sports Illustrated comments section is littered with posts of Collins’ ”sins, ”deviance,” and other homophobia. Although now, it looks like comments have been shut off on the story. In his writing, Collins joked ”… if I’m up against an intolerant player, I’ll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.”