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A year after Jason Collins came out, a new era for gay athletes

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It was a year ago Tuesday that then Washington Wizards free agent center Jason Collins wrote of being gay, a milestone in that he was the first professional athlete in the four major US sports to come out.  Since then, others like Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon have done the same ... and Collins joined the Nets, first on ten-day contracts, then as on a guaranteed deal.

Nicholas McCarvel, writing for the Daily Beast, talks about the "Collins Effect," how virtually every professional and college athlete to identify as gay has cited Collins' decision ... and the positive reaction it received.  McCarvel, himself a gay athlete, writes mostly about a Notre Dame tennis player, Matt Dooley.

"The thing that really stuck with me in what Jason said was that coming out was one of the most important things he could do as an athlete," explains Dooley, who wraps up his tennis career for the Irish in the next two weeks. "And that really went a long way. It pushed me. His coming out spurred conversations in my own life."

Gordon has said virtually the same thing after becoming the first Division I college basketball player to come out. He was encouraged by how the NBA embraced Collins.

Meanwhile, OutSports contrasts the league's response to Collins with the current controversy over Donald Sterling, noting what Collins told the New York Times, "It crosses the line, the other way."