Sexuality does not dictate sports talent
Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer
The world witnessed history on Sunday, as Brooklyn Nets centre Jason Collins played his first NBA game since coming out as gay last summer.
Collins remained a free agent after coming out in a Sports Illustrated feature on May 6th, 2013 and signed a 10-day contract with the Nets earlier on Sunday.
February has been a big month for gay athletes in professional sports as NFL hopeful and Mizzou Tigers star Defensive End Michael Sam also came out just months before the NFL Draft. The two athletes are changing the way professional sports are being looked at in the sense of inclusion.
In this ever-changing society we live in today, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that, for the most part, these athletes are being welcomed into the sporting world. There have been some negative comments from people around sports, yet none more notable than Toronto Argonauts wide out Arland Bruce III.
Bruce used Instagram to send out a grotesque message to Michael Sam. In doing so, Bruce revealed to the world that he cannot even correctly spell the word properly, spelling it “gaey,” and telling the world the gay movement is an “American trap.” Bruce has since deleted his Instagram account.
This is just one instance of the ignorance many athletes do have, especially in the game of football. When you have so many different personalities and individuals on one squad, you are bound to have those personalities clash. The Richie Incognito case with Jonathon Martin is an excellent example of what really goes on behind closed doors.
TSN’s Aaron Ward created a documentary to examine the basis of the locker room talk and how- to an extent- we are seeing a change in the way professional athletes handle themselves in these situations.
As we’ve seen in the past with other social movements, there will always be the negative stigma due to the normality in which the social change was taken at. We will always hear negative comments when talking about players such as Michael Sam, Jason Collins, and other athletes that come out as gay.
It would be interesting to see actual statistics of the professional leagues, yet in the society we live in it’s unrealistic to think that we will ever see a true percentage for a few years. These two athletes are definitely a great start and with the movement gaining traction, we could realistically see around 5-10 more athletes coming out in the next 2-3 years.
Jason Collins should be proud of what he accomplished this past weekend, making history in Brooklyn. Although he only played just over 10-and-a-half minutes, it was a groundbreaking feat for the Northridge, California native, and ultimately professional sports.