Free agent center Jason Collins became a groundbreaker for the LGBTQ community Monday announcing that he is gay. Collins is the first active gay athlete playing a major American sport.[/media-credit]Fear of the unknown. It’s something I’d like to believe that most human beings share. It’s why some of us were afraid of the dark at an early age. That primal fear that comes with being unable to understand or control your surroundings is very basic, and it’s at the heart and soul of resistance to change.Perhaps that’s the reason, among others, why it’s taken until now for someone like NBA center Jason Collins, an active athlete in a major American sport, to publicly come out as gay. Both the player and the public aren’t sure what happens next. Former NBA player John Amaechi came out in 2007, but it was three years after his playing career had ended. He did not have to enter a locker room with teammates the next day. Amaechi did not have to see how it would affect his career.Whether Collins will get a chance to see how his announcement changes his experience in the NBA remains to be seen, since the veteran journeyman is now a free agent. Still, he may get that chance, as an anonymous survey of 14 NBA teams conducted by ESPN’s Marc Stein revealed that six expect Collins in the league next year. The other eight cited overwhelmingly that his age, not sexual orientation, would be the primary reason they believed he wouldn’t play a 13th season.But seriously, for years players and others have said they’ve known of gay teammates. Why is it now, in 2013, that the glass finally shattered?Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and it’s the opposite reaction that men like Amaechi and Collins fear, the part that can’t be anticipated. Being LGBTQ labels you a minority in a time and age where the question of sexuality is more polarizing than ever. The concern becomes how the majority, the people themselves who don’t identify as a member of your community, treat and handle you once you reveal you’re different. How do you come out when you know it will forever change your life and the way that others perceive you?Those are the questions that need to be answered and that’s the reason why we need to embrace Collins’ decision. Perhaps if Collins is widely accepted by his teammates and has a positive experience, it will help other athletes feel comfortable with coming out as well. It can also serve as an inspiration for others. Like Collins said in his article in Sports Illustrated, nobody wants to be the kid in class who raises his hand and says he’s different. But when someone sees a figure publicly embrace that difference, others may find the same strength to do so as well.I’m only 22. But already, throughout my life, certain values and beliefs I hold have changed so many times I’m starting to lose count. Don’t get me wrong; I still hold viewpoints that have remained unaffected during my lifetime. But I believe that challenging beliefs by immersing myself and actively examining different ones from my own help me either modify or solidify previously held notions. And that’s why I believe an active and open discussion about a topic like Collins’ announcement, no matter what people believe, needs to occur.I believe that we shouldn’t define a person by something like sexual orientation, just like we don’t want to be defined by our race or gender. Am I a straight, white male? Yes. Does that drastically shape my identity? You bet it does. But it doesn’t define entirely who I am. I’d rather think my personality, morals, work and ethics make me who I am rather than the categories I was born with.Collins doesn’t want his life to be defined just as a gay man. He’s had a long career playing professional basketball and would rather be known as a caring teammate and hard worker than the first openly gay athlete. It will be a hard association for Collins to shake, but he also shouldn’t run from it. He should take pride in having the strength to do something no one else has before in his situation. He should find joy in knowing that his announcement will have a larger impact than he can even fathom.So kudos to you, Jason Collins. Kudos for being the first active major American sport athlete to come out as gay. Kudos for doing what so many before you were afraid to do while they were still actively pursuing their athletic career. And finally, kudos for bringing the long-standing issue of being LGBTQ in the United States back to the spotlight for discussion in both the public and private spheres.Some people will embrace the news, others will hate it and some will stand indifferent. But one thing is for certain: This represents a significant moment in the history of both sports and the LGBTQ community.Nick is the Badger Herald sports editor and a senior majoring in English and history. What impact do you think Collins’ announcement will have? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– as Govt admits funding options for agency limitedThe Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), which has been featured prominently in the media in recent months owing to its restructuring, has had a new Board of Directors approved to oversee its operations until next year.The forestry sector has experienced contradictory times with a growing sector and a struggling regulatorAccording to a gazetted notice, the new Board will be led by incumbent Chair Joselyn Dow. Other members include Latchmin Punalall, Dr David Singh, Clayton Hall, Audwin Rutherford, Vanessa Kissoon and Commissioner James Singh. Also included are representatives from the Forest Producers Association, the Ministry of the Presidency, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry, the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association and the Ministries of Agriculture and Business.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, at a press conference last week, alluded to the Commission’s difficulties in bringing in revenue and paying staff. He noted that the Commission has had to contend with a ban on the importation of greenheart into the United Kingdom, among other things.“We are limited by what we can do, because Parliament is not in session. So even if we want to support them, we’ll have to go to Parliament to get supplemental. That is not possible at this stage, so we’ll have to see if there are any other creative approaches to getting them some money to tide them over,” Jordan had said.“They have had a number of challenges that have reduced their revenue intake. The BaiShanLin concessions were returned, so they are not earning anything from it. It has not been given out. Greenheart exports, problems there. The whole issue of timber not expanding at the rate it should.”Notwithstanding these problems, including payment of the Forestry Commission’s own staff, the 2019 Mid-Year Report had shown that the sector was one of the few economic success stories. The report had said that the forestry subsector was estimated to have grown at the half-year.This growth encompasses the production of timber, including logs, round wood, primary lumber, split wood and fuelwood. According to the report, the production of these commodities rose 7.8 per cent above the level achieved at the end of June 2018.“This pushed growth in the sector to 8.5 per cent in the first half of 2019. The improvements to interior roads in the latter half of 2018 saw community loggers, particularly in Region 10, realising higher production levels in the first quarter of 2019. Production continued to surge, driven by small-scale concessions and community forestry operators.”“At the end of the first half, log production grew by 6.8 per cent, mainly on account of the increased extraction of greenheart logs to meet local demand. On the other hand, weaker international demand for round wood resulted in a contraction of this category in the second quarter, which resulted in a 2.6 per cent decline relative to the previous half-year,” the report adds.According to the report, primary lumber producers recorded gains of 32.4 per cent in the first half, which was attributed to them capitalising on local demand for construction. The report also projects a positive outlook for the remainder of the year for the sector.“Given these factors, the forestry sector is conservatively expected to expand by 5 per cent, 3.1 percentage points above the projection in Budget 2019,” the report says.
0Shares0000Captain Vincent Kompany says this time Manchester City have the hunger to keep hold of the Premier League trophy. © AFP/File / Paul ELLISLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 10 – Vincent Kompany has warned Manchester City’s rivals that the Premier League champions won’t rest on their laurels as they aim to follow their record-breaking season with another title triumph.Pep Guardiola’s side swept to the title last term with a record 100 points, amassing more wins and scoring more goals than any previous champion in the Premier League era. Inspired by Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and David Silva, City’s eye-catching style earned comparisons with the finest teams in English football history.But no team has successfully defended the Premier League title since Manchester United in 2008 and 2009, while City were unable to maintain the standards of their 2012 and 2014 title wins in the campaigns that followed.City captain Kompany admits his team lacked urgency and desire in those failed title defences under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, but the Belgian has sensed a far more focused approach from Guardiola’s group.“Before saying anything or doing anything, you want to observe and see if you see the same mistakes which we’ve done previously,” Kompany said.“I’ve got to be honest, there was a feeling when we’ve won the league previously, you came back in to the training sessions and everybody was a little bit less intense, a little bit more smiles and happiness, but a little bit less committed.“Teams that actually wanted it more could hurt us. I came in to training this time and it’s completely different.”With Guardiola saying he is still “starving” for more success, there appears to be little chance of a City letdown.They have already made a positive impression ahead of the new campaign by winning the Community Shield with an emphatic 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday.That was the perfect preparation for Sunday’s Premier League opener at Arsenal and Kompany added: “Number one, we realise this is precious and we want to hold on to it.“Number two, we went into the game with Chelsea – we lost two Community Shields before – and this was a strong Chelsea team. We played really well against them and that, for me, is a great sign.”– ‘Of course we can improve’ –City were so strong last term that Guardiola has needed to make only one major close-season signing — landing Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez from Leicester in a £60 million deal.And City defender Kyle Walker epitomised the squad’s hunger for more silverware by cutting short his post-World Cup holiday to return to training ahead of the Community Shield.Walker had just two weeks off following England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals, but he said: “I had the option if I wanted to come back later I could, but I wanted to be involved.“I left Manchester City at the end of last season in a good place and I wanted to pick up where we left off. I’m not resting on this. It is a short career. I want to win as much as I can win.”Manchester City started the season by winning the English Community Shield and manager Pep Guardiola says he is ‘starving’ for more success. © AFP/File / Ian KINGTONGuardiola doesn’t expect City to beat their points record this season, but with a first Champions League crown also in their sights, the Spaniard is determined to keep driving his players towards greater heights.“People say, ‘Can you improve on 100 points?’ – I say no. We are not here to do that,” Guardiola said.“But individually the players can improve. Of course we can improve. If I felt we could not improve the team I would call my chairman and say, ‘OK, I leave’.“We believe we can do better, dominate more and we will try to do it. Is it going to happen? I don’t know but we believe we can do it.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)