Spring is here, and the pundits are correct: a major league professional athlete has come out as gay. NBA free agent Jason Collins has broken a formidable barrier in this Sports Illustrated article that appears in May 2013.
- According to this first person article, why is Collins coming out publicly as a gay man? Why is he doing so now? At what points in the article does Collins state his reasoning most clearly? Do his reasons make sense to you? Why or why not?
- As Collins himself says, he hopes for the best and plans for the worst. What information does he give to establish his credibility as a player and as a person? What kinds of criticisms do you think he is anticipating? What details let you infer this? Point to specific places in the article to support your conclusions.
- Collins’ article may seem to be a simple personal declaration, so why do we include it here as an argument? What is the argument? What is Collins’ They Say, and what is his response?
- Do you believe it is important for gay and lesbian major league athletes to come out? Do you think their sexuality is relevant to how they play the game and their public personas? Why or why not? Write an essay in which you respond to those questions, taking into consideration the role of major sports in our national consciousness and public discourse, and the function of major league athletes as role models and celebrities. Use specific examples—of star players, of your experiences watching sports, of lesbian or gay teammates, of being out on the playing field yourself—to support your ideas.