Back in the ‘20s, Bill Tilden, considered by many old-timers to be the greatest tennis player of his generation and many generations after, was well-known as being a homosexual. Except he never announced he was despite the fact that virtually everyone in the tennis world (and many outside) knew he was. That didn’t stop people from proclaiming his greatness as an athlete. Ditto for Navratilova, King, and numerous other female athletes since who announced their homosexuality and paid no price for it. So the idea that Collins is some sort of courageous pioneer is patently ridiculous.
It’s hard to say who knew what when about Bill Tilden or what they may have heard. It sounds like the rumors and suspicions really spread after his 1920s heyday when his career was already in decline. After Tilden was arrested in the 1940s, he was ostracized. Nobody would have anything to do with him. So he may not have been an example of a homosexual accepted in the sports world.