By now, you've probably heard that NBA player Jason Collins became the first athlete in one of the four major pro sports to come out as a gay man. The full story is in this week's Sports Illustrated as the cover story, but the article is available online now.
This probably won't surprise anyone who knows me, but I applaud Collins for being the first to put himself out there. Someone had to be the first man to take a chance in the macho world of sports, risking alienation and persecution.
(Collins also made sure to mention that he was black, which I thought was a bit curious. Amanda Rykoff pointed out to me on Facebook that there's even more of a stigma regarding being gay in black culture. This column by Rob Smith at Salon explains how meaningful that is.)
While I hesitate to use the word "hero" in such cases, this is certainly a courageous stand. Is that overstating the case? Perhaps a little bit, given that Collins has received support from former and current NBA players on Twitter since this went public.
But the tendency is to assume that what's seen on Twitter is a reflection of the culture at large. The Twitterverse is but a small slice of our society and there are still major portions of this country's population that just won't accept a gay man.