By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Some day news like this will barely make a ripple. Stanford grad Jason Collins decided to share his sexual preference. Big deal.
But, of course, even in 2013, it is a big deal.
Collins became the first professional athlete to come out as gay while still active. Personally, I don't think we have any right in demanding such information from anybody, whether a wealthy CEO, NBA player or a mailman.
Does this change my opinion of Jason Collins? Of course not. He's the same person he was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. Nothing changed.
"Basketball does not define Jason Collins," Stanford assistant basketball coach Mark Madsen said in a statement released by Stanford athletics on Monday. "His decision to come out publicly doesn't define Jason Collins. What defines Jason, is he is a first-rate human being who made a huge contribution to this University, and every team or community he has been a part of."
Jed Lowrie, a Stanford grad who currently plays the infield for the Oakland Athletics, supports gay rights.
"He has the support of his family and his inner circle," Lowrie said Monday night before the A's game against the Los Angeles Angels. "At the end of the day, you have to separate the person and professional things."
Menlo-Atherton High grad and current A's manager Bob Melvin also thinks it's a non-issue.
"A person is a person to me," he said. "If you're a good baseball player, you're welcome here. Those are my thoughts in a nutshell."
Angels' Mark Trumbo said it took "courage" to say anything.
"Regardless, his teammates are going to rally around him," Trumbo said. "He may pave the way for more people to come forward who are comfortable with their identity."
Everyone should know, by now, that sexual preferences are as varied as color or food preferences, and, quite frankly, just as important.
"I am proud to hear that Jason, one of our Stanford sons, has taken a leadership role on this topic," Stanford Athletic Director Bernard Muir said. "I applaud his decision to be true to his identity and, from his own words, start this conversation in major professional sports. On behalf of a diverse athletic community I hope that we progress to the point in society where truthful moments like these are no longer newsworthy."
John Lennon reminded us that life was to be lived, not in fear, but in harmony. As we continue to confront our feelings concerning race, religion and sex, we can remember that diversity is the promise of continual growth.
Our most important role is to be who we are and not what we think others want us to be.