Skip to comments.NBA center Jason Collins becomes first openly gay active player in major U.S. sport
Posted on 04/29/2013 11:24:02 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Two weeks ago we were writing about a terrorist attack, today we’re writing about gay basketball players. A blogger’s life for me, my friends.
Easy prediction: 75 percent of the public will be casually supportive or casually disapproving but either way almost entirely indifferent. Fifteen percent, including lots of pols, celebrities, and the media, will support him enthusiastically. The other 10 percent will hassle him on the court or from the stands either because they dislike gays or just to spite the 15 percent of “opinion leaders” on the other side. Collins will get a standing O at his first home game next year — if he ends up being signed — and some fans on the road will get nasty with him when he fouls someone too roughly. He’ll do a few ads. Then, after a few months, with rare exceptions, everyone will get bored with it.
By its nature, my double life has kept me from getting close to any of my teammates. Early in my career I worked hard at acting straight, but as I got more comfortable in my straight mask it required less effort. In recent days, though, little has separated “mask on, mask off.” Personally, I don’t like to dwell in someone else’s private life, and I hope players and coaches show me the same respect. When I’m with my team I’m all about working hard and winning games. A good teammate supports you no matter what.
I’ve been asked how other players will respond to my announcement. The simple answer is, I have no idea. I’m a pragmatist. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. The biggest concern seems to be that gay players will behave unprofessionally in the locker room. Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of showers in 12 seasons. My behavior wasn’t an issue before, and it won’t be one now. My conduct won’t change. I still abide by the adage, “What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.” I’m still a model of discretion…
Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start. It all comes down to education. I’ll sit down with any player who’s uneasy about my coming out. Being gay is not a choice. This is the tough road and at times the lonely road. Former players like Tim Hardaway, who said “I hate gay people” (and then became a supporter of gay rights), fuel homophobia. Tim is an adult. He’s entitled to his opinion. God bless America. Still, if I’m up against an intolerant player, I’ll set a pretty hard pick on him. And then move on.
The most you can do is stand up for what you believe in. I’m much happier since coming out to my friends and family. Being genuine and honest makes me happy.
Collins technically isn’t the first active player from a big-four sport to be openly gay, he’s the first active player to go public with it. (Glenn Burke, an outfielder for the Dodgers and A’s in the 70s, was out to his teammates and coaches but didn’t announce it publicly until after he retired.) Early reaction is what you’d expect:
Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013
NBA commissioner David Stern releases statement supporting Jason Collins twitter.com/BuzzFeedNews/s
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 29, 2013
Jason Collins’ team @washwizards: “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision…” twitter.com/BuzzFeedNews/s
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 29, 2013
The White House:
“Here at the White House we view this as another example of the progress we’ve made and the evolution that has taken place,” press secretary Jay Carney said when asked if President Obama had a statement on Collins. Carney said he had not talked to the president directly about Collins.
And the Big Dog:
Former President Bill Clinton on Monday congratulated NBA center Jason Collins for becoming the first openly gay male American professional athlete.
I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelseas classmate and friend at Stanford. Jasons announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community, Clinton said in a statement.
It’s early yet, though. Someone in some league somewhere inevitably will say something disapproving, whereupon he’ll be shredded in the press until he formulaically apologizes.
By the way: None of this is a surprise, and Collins almost certainly isn’t the the only active big-four athlete who’ll be out by the end of summer. NFL player Brendon Ayanbadejo told the Baltimore Sun on April 5 that “up to four players” were discussing whether to come out on the same day, to take the heat off of each of them individually. There’s been endless whispering in the media over the last month about MLB, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL preparing for this sort of thing. Advertisers have been preparing too, with Nike practically dangling cash in front of gay athletes to get them to speak up:
Nike asked Welts to deliver a message to anyone thinking about becoming the first openly gay athlete in major U.S. team sports — the company wants him as an endorser.
They made it clear to me Nike would embrace it, Welts, 60, now president of the National Basketball Associations Golden State Warriors, said in a telephone interview. The player who does it, theyre going to be amazed at the additional opportunities that are put on the table, not the ones that are taken off.…
Weve passed the tipping point to where national advertisers are no longer afraid of the gay market, said Mark Elderkin, chief executive officer of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Gay Ad Network.
That calculus would be complicated for a superstar, especially in a sport like football, but not for an average aging player like Collins. So this is really just phase one: Now there’s a man on the court whom everyone knows is gay, but who doesn’t draw much attention otherwise. Phase two will be when an all-star, who carries his team, comes out. How much more pressure will he deal with from teammates and fans?
Exit question from DrewM: If people want to boo someone for their personal lives, why not boo these guys?
Update: That was fast. Dolphins WR Mike Wallace apparently tweeted “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH That tweet’s now gone, per TMZ, replaced by this:
Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended
— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) April 29, 2013
Update: Like I said, the other leagues are preparing.
The baseball world voices its support for @jasoncollins34: atmlb.com/ZLYgwk
— MLB (@MLB) April 29, 2013
Sodium, is what Lotts wife BE
OK... a middling NBAer attempts to leverage his position on the team by announcing he’s homosexual. That way, he has homophobia card to play whenever he’s released.
I know he plays basketball, but is he a pitcher or a catcher?
Sodium, is what Lotts wife BE
Now she's a 'Pillar of the Community'!........
I understand that he is a free agent. So, any team that doesn’t pursue him is open to a lawsuit for discrimination.
I dont think it a coincidence that Time Tebow a fine moral upright man is released from playing the same day a gay man comes out to proudly proclaim his sexuality...
We are sliding down the hill of immorality faster and faater and no end in sight.
Sexual Orientation is not (currently) a protected class under EEOC guidelines.
He sucks at basketball so why wouldn’t he................?
WHO GIVES A $HIT????????????????????????
Yeah some courage to come out during these times when the left is full on attack mode for helping the “gay issue”
I always figured they did both.
Disgusting. I am SICK of homosexual narcissists.
Time Tebow should read Tim Tebow just in case we have spelling nazi’s and of course since this is Free Republic we abhor nazi’s right gang?
Why is everyone so proud of a queer?
Our society has rotted beyond hope. I fear that the correction will be very bad.
I thought this was none of my damn business.
One more thing I could really care less who comes out in major sports. I am sick of the “gay agenda” being forced on us.
As if I give a smelly Obama who boinks this guy.
Get a room, and shut the **** up.
It got him on the cover of SI.
WHO GIVES A $HIT????????????????????????
now he’ll have a temper tantrum LOL
Why not further destroy the Black culture which is already in tatters and further debase the general culture with more even more depravity.
Who the hell cares aboutn where the like the stick their anatomy? BFD.
I could have sworn he said he would set a pretty hard prick on an intolerant player, but maybe I heard wrong.
The gay agenda won’t stop until every Bible believing church is forced to perform gay marriages under penalty of law, or they are formally shut down and go underground.
What a terrific society this has turned into.
I guess my kids will be dealing with this when they get my age, except it will be pedophiles coming out of the closet with heaps of praise from the WH and the media.
Lord Jesus return soon. Amen.
Just a thought.
“Sexual Orientation is not (currently) a protected class under EEOC guidelines.”
But de facto it is and any halfway adequate lawyer could get a huge jury reward.
I guess we know what leads on the nightly news&propaganda shows.
“I fear that the correction will be very bad.”
Count on it.
Excellent verse for this occasion.
I had sports radio on earlier and the hosts (multiple stations) were tripping all over themselves lauding this man. Anyone with a differing opinion, the overwhelming majority opinion a generation ago, is now considered a close-minded bigot to be shouted down and shamed.
We are too far gone as a people. Conservatism cannot save us. We need a Great Awakening similiar to that experienced by Colonial America. Christ, and not politics, is the only answer for this country.
best comment of the day!
Now why and the heck is the White House issuing statements on this guy being a homosexual?
Man, we are a sick, depraved society and Obama is all too happy to bring about our national demise. I am still stunned that so many people were fooled by Obama — both times!
We deserve the judgement we will be getting. So no more wailing about what the terrorists will be bringing.
Hockey is far more exciting.
Y’know, someone that tall just can’t be on the “down low” for long...
True...but there are local laws.
Where I live (Topeka, KS), a law was passed which prevents an employer from firing an employee because he/she is gay.
So if you’ve got a waiter talking in a deliberate lisp, giggling, etc...you take a huge risk firing him/her.
Looked at another way, every time you hire somebody, you are possibly hiring somebody into a ‘sting’ operation, in which they try to be as over the top gay as possible, just to temp you to fire them....so they can sue you.
I think our law also has a thought police provision, where you get sued if you fail to hire a gay person.
D**n! You beat me to it!
So tennis doesn’t count?, or do they consider major to mean popular? I guess it’s all in the number of fans, since the only sport I ever followed was Girls Fast Pitch Softball while my Daughter played, this means exactly squat to me.
Great minds, my FRiend.
RE: Hockey is far more exciting.
Yes, they’re expecting an announcement from that sport too...
A few years ago our company had a layoff. One of the employees let go was absolutely horrid at her job. Rude, obnoxious, would hang up on customers, even all her co-workers pretty much despised her.
Oh, and she was a "person of color".
She filed for wrongful termination and bragged about the $25K the company quickly gave her to not file suit.
"Cant fire because of..." means "Can't fire without paying out!"
Sid Crosby? He was at a Justin Bieber concert during the lockout.
Next he will be on Ellen’s show and be spotted in JC Penney’s buying loafers.
In other words, people like Tim have a right to their own opinion and the right to free speech, but unless they join in the celebration of men being fixated on each others' filthy anal areas, they'll be demonized, labeled, and attacked.
God bless America? Once upon a time, maybe.
Yawn. Who cares.
Bet Obama wants to go one on one with him.
What a hero. He likes to have a penis in his mouth and anal canal. What a hero.
Apparently Tori Hunter was OK when he said he didn’t want gays in the locker room because it was the off season and people had time to forget.