Did anyone outside of die-hard NBA fans know the name Jason Collins before Monday?
Over the course of 12 NBA seasons, Collins averaged 3.6 points per game, 0.9 assists per game, 3.8 rebounds per game and shot 41 percent from the floor, while playing for half a dozen teams. His numbers are hardly memorable, especially for the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.
And while Collins will never make the Hall of Fame for his playing career, he should be given a spot for his courage and determination to break down stereotypes and walls of discrimination.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, or have been mesmerized by the Jets' release of Tim Tebow, Collins was the first professional athlete to "come out" while active in one of the four major American sports.
Monday morning, Collins had about 9,000 followers on his official Twitter account (@jasoncollins34). As of Tuesday's press deadline, he had more than 85,000 supporters.
This is a historic day in professional sports. But, it's also an ugly day as the trolls took to the comment sections of major networks and newspapers.
If you need an example of the hatred and bigotry, read the comments on ESPN's story. It's ignorant comment after ignorant comment with a few shouts of support sprinkled in.
I hope Collins' new found freedom serves as an inspiration to those who have hidden themselves due to the pressures of society.
We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect, no matter our race, religion or sexual orientation. There shouldn't be a debate.
Now that Collins has taken the torch, let's hope he runs with it full speed and becomes an ambassador for change and equality — not only in sports, but worldwide.
"I'll lead by example and show that gay players are no different from straight ones. I'm not the loudest person in the room, but I'll speak up when something isn't right." — Jared Collins.
Either support Jason Collins, or shut your mouth.
I am almost always willing to hear the rebuttal of an opposing idealist, but not this time. Save it. You’re wrong.
And I’ll go further. If you’re an indifferent bystander, your conscious obliviousness is just as evil as deliberate opposition.
If you do not, at least, vocally support immediate actions that would give all Americans, based on orientation, equal rights, then you are making the world more wicked.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that anyone is “misinformed.” A person’s unfortunate experience is not an excuse for the accidental persecution of an innocent group of people.
Double Take has touched on the issue of American regard for homosexuality before, but we haven’t given the issue sufficient press.
Obviously, civil rights transcend any specific athletic issues.
Racism is, undoubtedly, still an issue in the United States, and we have a long way to go. But the systematic oppression of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans is the most prevalent modern, cultural injustice that exists in our country.
No one reading this column can fathom the courage it took for an NBA player to become the first active, male athlete in a major American sport to come out of the closet. It’s the manliest act that another human has made in my lifetime.
Alright, now you know where I stand, and I have a moving-forward suggestion.
If a relative stranger ever inquires about your sexual orientation, do not answer the question.
Unless someone wants to get in my pants, my romantic preference for one gender and/or another does not matter. So, polite or not, my response is “none of your business.”
Our world will not become equal until this “issue” is no longer. You need to be willing to help, at least a little, or you should lose my number.