MANILA, Philippines — News media organizations across the world are scrambling, rummaging through their archives and scouring the internet looking for the most compromising photos they could find to accompany their articles about Jason Collins.
This, after Collins became the first active player in a major American professional team sport to reveal he is gay.
The 34-year-old free agent who has played for six NBA teams over the past 12 seasons, went public with his sexuality in an essay published on Sports Illustrated magazine’s website.
“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,” Collins said. “But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.”
Among those backing Collins was US President Barack Obama. (from ABS-CBN News)
Joseph Maligaya, content editor for one of the major news organization in the Philippines revealed that it took him almost 3 hours before settling in on a chosen photo. The photo, features Collins going up for a rebound against two Indiana Pacers’ players with his right hand tilted “just the right way”.
“My editor approved it right away, saying that the photo was perfect,” say Maligaya.
Evans Albajeno, writer for an online sports blog was not lucky enough, as he had to make do with a regular photo of the 12-year NBA center.
“I finished the write-up in just 15 minutes, but searching for the photo proved to be the most difficult part.”
“I tried Google and other search engines to no avail,” he added. “Either the photo was already being used by other sites or the photo was just not feminine enough.”
According to Albajeno, besides awkward poses, most editors were looking for photos depicting Collins as either weak or “is about to break down in tears”.
Michelle Dy, lawyer and gay rights advocate does not agree with the stereotyping.
“Members of the LGBT community are the most brave and strong persons I’ve ever met,” said Dy. “It’s wrong to typecast them that way.”