Bruce Arthur: Jason Collins coming out a new beginning for sports
Nobody expected Jason Collins. Everybody knew that the day was coming, that one of the four major North American sports would see an openly gay player come out before his career was over, and consciously or subconsciously, everybody had an idea of what that person might be like. A star, probably. Good-looking. Articulate. A hero.
But Jason Collins? Thirty-four years old, a journeyman centre, a guy who spent a career being invisible, or being mistaken for his twin brother Jarron? He faced off with Shaquille O’Neal in the NBA Finals, the hardest job there was; he gave Chris Bosh fits in a first-round series once, too. But he was faceless a player as you can find, setting screens, being in position, fouling when necessary. Smart guy, admired for his toughness, a favourite of his teammates. But he was an extra in the play.
Monday, with the help of Sports Illustrated‘s Franz Lidz, Collins wrote an honest, charming story about himself, and who he really was. He’s the first openly gay professional athlete in the four major sports in North America.