But, cul­tur­ally, it mat­ters that Collins is an active player and that he is a man. How will the locker room react? How will fans react? What about endorsements?

Collins’s announce­ment chal­lenges com­fort­able but homo­phobic notions about ath­letic heroes, said Dan Lebowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. He calls the rev­e­la­tion a civil rights water­shed moment.

The sports world is typ­i­fied by this hyper­masculine def­i­n­i­tion of man­hood that hadn’t allowed for these con­ver­sa­tions of an ath­lete of a dif­ferent sexual ori­en­ta­tion,” Lebowitz said. “I think it cre­ates a pos­i­tive self-​​image for every gay kid who is an ath­lete or every gay kid who isn’t an ath­lete. They can find people who are like them.

There should be a lot of room for a grand def­i­n­i­tion of what man­hood is. It can be a mil­lion things, including being a gay athlete.”

Read the article at The Boston Globe →