Gay Myrtle Beach resident: NBA player's coming out "a big deal"

Reaction has been swift, since NBA player Jason Collins became the first male athlete in a major sport to come out as gay. Collins revealed his sexuality in a Sports Illustrated cover story that went online Monday.

The response from professional athletes has been mostly positive. President Obama said Tuesday he thinks Collins is "a terrific young man" and he's proud of him.

Not everyone is so supportive.

On the WPDE NewsChannel 15's Facebook page, Nancy Webber writes, "There would be absolutely no reason to "come out", if that was the right thing to do."

Sheryl Jones adds, "I really didn't need or want to know about his sexual preference or behavior. And, I don't want to know about anyone else's."

Myrtle Beach resident Michael Williams, who is openly gay, says it's sad Collins' announcement has to be a big deal, but it is.

"The reason we do have to hear about it is because we do categorize people and we do stereotype them and we don't accept them for who and what they are," Williams said.

Since Collins is a male in a sport that stresses power and masculinity, Williams hopes Collins' revelation will help change some preconceptions about who gay people are.

"I hope it breaks the mold and I hope that you are able to step outside the boundary, the lines... and say, 'Yeah, I'm gay, but I also play basketball.'"

Williams also thinks Collins' announcement will help others who are struggling with their own sexuality.

"You can't love yourself if you don't accept all of you," Williams said.

But there are those who would prefer that the issue not play out in public.

Leslie Toth Foerster comments on WPDE's Facebook page: "Why do they have to bring it out in the open? Does it matter? Just play basketball!!!!"