While many people call Jason Collins’ announcement to the world on Monday, though his Sports Illustrated essay, that he is gay as a historic day for the gay movement, I disagree.
While Collins, who played 32 games for the Boston Celtics before being dealt for Jordan Crawford, is being commended for his “courage,” the response to his announcement has been 99 percent positive.
The support, from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal to Michelle Obama has been overwhelmingly supportive.
The real courage, though, will come this summer when some NBA team, in need of a backup, journeyman center — every team needs one of those, right? — offers Collins a contract.
Collins’ career is either over or on life support. His scoring average the last seven years has been, in order, 2.1, 2.0, 1.8, 0.7, 2.0, 1.3 and 1.1 points a game while his rebound average per game has been 4.0, 2.5, 2.3, 0.6, 2.1, 1.6 and 1.5.
According to those in the know, Collins is a true gentleman. He’s not only articulate — his coming out piece in Sports Illustrated was very well done — and clean cut, but he’s approachable and usually bearing a grin.
While he is easy to root for, he will have little to do with his future as a “current” pro athlete willing to take a stand. It will be up to a team, which hopefully isn’t looking for a media frenzy, but a guy who can fill in at center in a pinch.
Farrington recalls when he ‘came out’
Back around 1980, when Charlie Farrington was still “in the closet,” he was petrified his friends and associates would know the real Charlie Farrington.
“You’d go away on vacation and people would ask where you are going and you didn’t always tell the truth,” said the well-known area runner, who is now 68. “Or I’d tell people I’m going out with friends and they’d ask, ‘Who are they?’ It was stressful to be honest, hiding who you were from people you liked. Very stressful.”
When Collins admitted he was gay, thus becoming the first active male in a major sport to “come out of the closet,” Farrington was not surprised one bit.
“This is a much better time,” said Farrington, who resides in Methuen. “It was different when I was growing up. But, to be honest, everyone I knew couldn’t have been nicer and more understanding. That was more than 30 years ago. I think the bigger issue, particularly for those playing pro sports, is that there is a such a macho image. That’s the real issue.”
Farrington recalled when he announced he was gay to his fellow members at the Merrimack Valley Striders.
“It was like the world was off my shoulders,” said Farrington. “I’ve been very lucky in my life. I don’t have to hide who I am.”
Farrington, who still runs three to four days a week, said he personally knows a minor league baseball player who has confided to him that he is gay. He hopes that Collins’ announcement might helps him with his eventual announcement.
“The thing is you can’t force someone to come out,” said Farrington. “It’s a personal thing. I just think things are getting better and people are very understanding. It’s very happy to see.”