Out and Onward

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports/www.usatoday.com Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)

Growing up, the best advice that I ever received was to always be myself.  Due to that wonderful advice, I have a great job with great friends and family.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.  As I was checking out the latest sports news yesterday, I noticed a story that was long overdue.  Current Free Agent and NBA Veteran, Jason Collins, came out to the public about his homosexuality to Sports Illustrated.  Collins is the first active player in the four major sports to come out about his sexuality and honestly it is about time.  Whether you want to believe it or not, we all know that there are active professional athletes that are hiding behind a lie every day and for the first time in his life, Jason Collins finally got to be himself.

Before the backlash starts, I want to let everyone know that I am not a homosexual or agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but in terms of respecting someone for living their life the way they want to, they have earned the right to choose what makes them happy.  We all knew that it was a matter of time before the first professional athlete came out of the closet, and it just so happens that Collins was the first.  It took the NBA veteran 34 years to come out about his sexuality, and honestly, I’m proud of you Jason.  I always try to be myself, but in professional sports, I can understand that it is a little different.  The consensus is that every male athlete in a high profile sport is supposed to be straight, and if you are gay, the fear of being different is enough for you to hide your secret.  I may not agree with homosexuality, but if being someone that you aren’t isn’t the real you, then cut the charade and be yourself.  It takes a lot for someone to break the norm, and because he had the courage to, I applaud Collins for breaking down the barrier.

Let’s be real for a minute and admit that it is probably best that the first openly gay current athlete came out in 2013.  If this had happened back in the 1970’s, 80’s or even 90’s, this news would’ve been sheer madness.  In our day and age, people, as well as the younger generation, are much more accepting of the gay community.  Like I said before, whether you agree with it or not, it is a lifestyle that people live and they deserve the right to be happy.  To those 40 years ago, this would’ve been a huge issue, but nowadays, it doesn’t bother people as much.  Collins has expressed the massive amount of support that he has received in the last 24 hours from people about the news.  There is no question that it wasn’t an easy thing to do, but with wonderful support and having great people on your side, it makes the jump a little smoother.   The first one through the wall always gets bloody, but being the first one to do it means something.  It doesn’t mean that Collins won a contest of sorts, but what he did do is paved the way for other gay athletes to come out of the closet as well.  I don’t care if you are gay, straight or bisexual, just be yourself and never live behind a lie.

Now that Jason Collins has opened the door, you will eventually see other athletes do the same.  Props to Collins for making the first move, it wasn’t easy, but it needed to happen.  And to those of you that are now irate because there is a homosexual in the NBA, remember this, would you rather be happy or live a lie to make others happy?

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