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Former Jason Collins coach Doc Rivers states support, references Jackie Robinson

Apr 29, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

In the middle of last season, the Boston Celtics traded Jason Collins to the Washington Wizards as part of the Jordan Crawford deal. But it wasn’t a move the Celtics wanted to make — they fought to hold on to Collins until it became clear the deal would fall apart without him in it (credit Marc Stein of ESPN).

But Doc Rivers is a big supporter of Collins and said so in a statement he issued on Monday:

“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collin. He’s a pro’s pro. He is the consummate professional and he is one of my favorite “team” players I have ever coached. If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance. One of my favorite sayings is, I am who I am, are whom we are, can be what I want to be its not up to you, it’s just me being me.”

In general that has been the reaction of players, who are of a younger generation (and nationally polling data has shown younger generations are more accepting of a gay or lesbian lifestyle, and the NBA is made up of young players). Coaches will come at it the way Rivers does: “Can he help me win? Is he good in the locker room?”

But good for Rivers for stepping up.

  1. Chris Ross - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Definitely not the first that is going to reference Jackie Robinson.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      Why do I feel like your tone is negative? This is a watershed moment and Doc Rivers, like him or not, seemed to sum up the moment with some grace and understanding that there is history being made.

  2. katra2logic - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I could never understand the bias against gay guys.

    As a ‘straight’ guy, it would seem to me, the more gay guys there are, the less the competition is for the available females. Just saying…

  3. ihavenonickname - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Doc is right on and smart. BUT as a black man I am offended by the comparison to Jackie Robinson. I know it’s a popular thing to say, but race and sexual orientation is apples and oranges. And the mistreatment of the two groups is absolutely incomparable.

  4. MyTeamsAllStink - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    He is Hardly Jackie Robinson.Robinson wasn’t allowed to play MLB until 1947 and the laws in this nation reflected the hate and inttolerance for blacks.Collins was and is still able to play in the NBA.Good for him for coming out but this would have had a bigger impact when he was in the middle of his career not at the end of it.

  5. realninerfan22 - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I love doc Rivers but he’s completely wrong. Jackie Robinson was hated because he was black.. People don’t hate gays, most people just dont approve of there lifestyle.. Collins never got hung, kicked out certain restaurant because he’s gay, hell up until today we just found out he was gay. Straight people dont go around saying there straight! Somethings shud be kept to yoursel not put in the public most definitely when you arw in a locker room full of half naked straight guys.. Just like straight men wherw attracted to half naked women, and his case he is attracted to half naked men, which is his teammates

    • Kurt Helin - May 7, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      If you do not think that gays and lesbians are not physically abused and discriminated against, I envy the bubble you get to live in. They do.

  6. patfic15 - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Agreed. Robinson was a different situation in a different era. Collins is attracted to men. Hardly earth shattering and I’m sure even Jason would agree that Jackie Robinson represents something bigger in terms of historical moments. After all the WNBA has fielded several openly gay players.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Robinson is certainly different, but I think Rivers’ point that the guys in the locker room are faster to approve of someone than society at large because they know the guy.

  7. malopalo - Apr 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Equating Jackie Robinson’s battle scars to a pronouncement of being gay and pushing the gay-agenda’s twisted views on this subject is a disservice to the man and his civil rights legacy. This coach owes an apology to all black men who went through that struggle, and acknowledge the two are totally incompatible to each other, although the gay-agenda wishes to see it otherwise. Hope others will do the same and speak out…!!!!!!

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