Jason Collins found out a harsh truth in America. As a qualified applicant, he has had trouble finding work in his original field, and has found the search this summer especially daunting. Recently, he went out to Detroit and found the job market out there to be especially uninviting.
Understand that Collins is a professional basketball player. He has been a serviceable big man for the past 14 seasons, providing teams with a defensive force at the center position. He also came out of the closet this summer, becoming the first openly gay man to participate in any major North American team sport.
His revelation made him a darling of the of the TV circuit, but also made him unwanted in the league. It’s not that Collins isn’t still one of the top 300 professional basketball players in the world — it is that he is on the tail end of his career and he is low on that list.
Imagine if the Detroit Pistons had given him a job and new signee Brandon Jennings has just hit a game winner on the road. All the press would still careen around Collins, a player who is more suited to wave towels at the end of the bench at this point in his career.
Shoot-arounds and early press for the team would also be treated like this, making Collins more of a sideshow than the revolutionary he’s been portrayed as.
I think Collins living his own truth and still attempting to participate in professional sports is still a huge victory for the LGBT community. People can now follow in Collins’ example and no longer be scared to be who they truly are.
Professional sports are still a business and if you are worth more trouble than your actual production in this business, the only way you maintain a job is if your name is Tim Tebow.