Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and now UMass’ and Plainfield native Derrick Gordon all have come out as gay athletes.

And each of them breathes a sigh of relief for telling those around them and the world at large about their sexual preference.

But I think what we’re beginning to experience is the law of diminishing returns.

Collins, having been the first, made news. Naturally there was going to be a fair amount of blowback from other athletes who may not have been able to accept being able to play with an openly gay teammate.

With each new announcement – and you know there will be more – will come an exasperated “so what else is new?”

I would think this to be a good thing – good in that perhaps now we may have moved along and accepted the fact that being an openly gay player in the world of sports is not as taboo as it may have been not too long ago.

Which leads to the question – if it’s not as taboo, does the gay athlete necessarily still need to come out of the closet?

According to this story from ESPN.com:

The 22-year-old shooting guard made the announcement that he is gay to his family, coaches and teammates at the beginning of April. Gordon made the decision at that time to also go public with his announcement.

Sophomore forward Tyler Bergantino said that even before Gordon addressed his teammates, there was something different in his demeanor.

"He looked happier, stress-free, like that was the real him," Bergantino said. "Before, when he would walk into the locker room, there was this cloud around him, like you couldn't quite get to him."

According to Gordon, after he made his announcement, one of his teammates immediately backed his announcement by saying, "We got you; you're one of us."
Gordon went on to say "Before, I usually just kept to myself because I didn't want to lie or be fake, but not anymore. I feel so good right now. It's like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders."

Which I would imagine is the point – the ability to unburden oneself of a weight on one’s shoulders.
After all, closeted is no way to go through one’s career – and through life.

My view is that coming out – should one need to – is largely a private matter – to be shared with one’s closest associates, family, and friends.

However, seeing is how it’s a more accepted reality that gay players will be a part of the overall sports landscape – do you feel that gay athletes need to come out publicly?