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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

NBA player Jason Collins comes out as gay

Posted by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:45 PM
  • 48 Replies
1 mom liked this


29 April 2013 Last updated at 16:50 ET
Jason Collins in Atlanta, Georgia, on 2 December 2009 Jason Collins has been inundated with messages of support

US basketball player Jason Collins has come out as gay, the first active male athlete in a major American professional team sport to do so.

He declared his sexuality in an article for Sports Illustrated, announcing: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

Collins said he had struggled with his sexuality for years.

Former NBA player John Amaechi came out as gay in 2007, but he had already retired.

Former US President Bill Clinton was among those who sent messages of support to Collins on Monday.

'Leadership mantle'

Mr Clinton called the move "an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community".

His daughter, Chelsea, who knew Collins when they were both students at California's Stanford University, tweeted: "Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength and courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA."

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement: "Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was among several of Collins's fellow NBA players to offer his support publicly.

"Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others," Bryant tweeted, followed by the words "courage" and "support".

Sportswear company Nike, which has endorsed Collins, also supported his decision.

"Jason is a Nike athlete," its statement said. "We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion."

The reaction was not entirely welcoming: An analyst for sports broadcaster ESPN, Chris Broussard, said on Monday he did not believe that "you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle" and be a Christian. Collins had written in the article that he took "the teachings of Jesus seriously".

Symbolic shirt number

In the Sports Illustrated article, Collins, who has most recently played for the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics, said: "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport.

"But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

He added that this month's bombings at the Boston Marathon had reinforced his conclusion that he should talk publicly about his sexuality.

"Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?" Collins wrote.

Collins, who has played 11 seasons in the NBA with six teams and is not currently attached to a team, said he had tried to suppress his feelings through relationships with women.

"When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged," he said. "I thought I had to live a certain way.

"I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue."

Collins said he decided he should go public after his former roommate at Stanford University, Congressman Joe Kennedy, scion of the Kennedy political dynasty, marched in a Boston gay pride parade.

As basketball player at Stanford, Collins competed in the national collegiate championship tournament, reaching the fourth round. He has also played in two NBA finals. His twin brother, Jarron, is a former NBA player.

Collins explained that in 2012 he changed his uniform number to 98 - a number with significance for the gay community in the US - as a gesture of solidarity.

In 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally killed in what has been cited as one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in the US.

Several male athletes have previously come out after retirement, including Amaechi, the NFL's Esera Tuaolo and Major League Baseball's Billy Bean. Collins is the first to do so while active in sport.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22341153
by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:45 PM
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Replies (1-10):
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:49 PM
2 moms liked this
Good for him, glad he will live his life openly and not feel he has to hide who he is.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:56 PM
1 mom liked this

He is who he is...why should he have to hide it?

canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:57 PM
1 mom liked this
Good for him! Hopefully he will not be the last to come out while an active player in any sport/league.
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KreatingMe
by Silver Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 6:59 PM
2 moms liked this
What courage that took! It's huge an openly gay pro athlete.
EireLass
by Ruby Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM
2 moms liked this

Not sure why this is important. Sort of like 'who cares'. His life has no bearing on mine, nor mine on his...so not sure why someone has to announce their sexuality, like it's something new.

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Apr. 29, 2013 at 7:51 PM
4 moms liked this

It's significant because sports is such a "macho" thing in this country, and most men who may be gay and a professional sports player is unlikely to admit it for fear of backlash from not only the fans, but from their fellow players. It's sad that in this day and age that culture is still there, but it is. It took tremendous courage for this man to come out, knowing what could happen to him. 

Quoting EireLass:

Not sure why this is important. Sort of like 'who cares'. His life has no bearing on mine, nor mine on his...so not sure why someone has to announce their sexuality, like it's something new.



EireLass
by Ruby Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 8:12 PM
1 mom liked this

And all those horrible things can still happen to him. I guess I've never understood why a person's sexuality is everyone elses business. I became unmarried in 1989. I only got remarried last July. For many many years, people thought I was a lesbian. I never corrected them...it's not their business.

Quoting cjsbmom:

It's significant because sports is such a "macho" thing in this country, and most men who may be gay and a professional sports player is unlikely to admit it for fear of backlash from not only the fans, but from their fellow players. It's sad that in this day and age that culture is still there, but it is. It took tremendous courage for this man to come out, knowing what could happen to him. 

Quoting EireLass:

Not sure why this is important. Sort of like 'who cares'. His life has no bearing on mine, nor mine on his...so not sure why someone has to announce their sexuality, like it's something new.


cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Apr. 29, 2013 at 8:58 PM

No, it isn't anyone's business, you're right. But sadly, in the world in which we live, people think everything is their business now. There is no such thing as privacy anymore.

Quoting EireLass:

And all those horrible things can still happen to him. I guess I've never understood why a person's sexuality is everyone elses business. I became unmarried in 1989. I only got remarried last July. For many many years, people thought I was a lesbian. I never corrected them...it's not their business.

Quoting cjsbmom:

It's significant because sports is such a "macho" thing in this country, and most men who may be gay and a professional sports player is unlikely to admit it for fear of backlash from not only the fans, but from their fellow players. It's sad that in this day and age that culture is still there, but it is. It took tremendous courage for this man to come out, knowing what could happen to him. 

Quoting EireLass:

Not sure why this is important. Sort of like 'who cares'. His life has no bearing on mine, nor mine on his...so not sure why someone has to announce their sexuality, like it's something new.




Goodwoman614
by Satan on Apr. 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM
2 moms liked this



Quoting cjsbmom:

No, it isn't anyone's business, you're right. But sadly, in the world in which we live, people think everything is their business now. There is no such thing as privacy anymore.

Quoting EireLass:

And all those horrible things can still happen to him. I guess I've never understood why a person's sexuality is everyone elses business. I became unmarried in 1989. I only got remarried last July. For many many years, people thought I was a lesbian. I never corrected them...it's not their business.

Quoting cjsbmom:

It's significant because sports is such a "macho" thing in this country, and most men who may be gay and a professional sports player is unlikely to admit it for fear of backlash from not only the fans, but from their fellow players. It's sad that in this day and age that culture is still there, but it is. It took tremendous courage for this man to come out, knowing what could happen to him. 

Quoting EireLass:

Not sure why this is important. Sort of like 'who cares'. His life has no bearing on mine, nor mine on his...so not sure why someone has to announce their sexuality, like it's something new.




But see, it is our business. 

A public persona serves as a role model. Many times for doing nothing more than putting a ball of some sort into a goal or basket or net. 

Often, these "players" have questionable behavior off the court.

I don't know Mr Collins.

But like it or not, though, his actions do carry weight in the culture at large.

As I type this, there are kids who love basketball, who may be questioning how to rectify their sexuality with their love of the sport. Their hopes and dreams, their self-concept.

Mr Collins's coming out has powerful, and positive implications for them.

Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting EireLass:




Kids are committing suicides because they feel worthless/disgusting/wrong/weird, and they don't get any support from their family. He might have saved a life, and that's why it's important I think.
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