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Support for Jason Collins coming out pouring in through statements, twitter

Apr 29, 2013, 1:16 PM EDT

Jason Collins AP

Jason Collins is not the first gay player in professional sports, and you’re kidding yourself if you think he’s the only one in all of the NBA, NFL or MLB right now. Collins however is the first to come out while an active player (he played with the Celtics and Wizards last season, he is currently a free agent).

Coming out was a bold thing and as soon as he did a number of voices came out in strong support.

That started with his own twin brother (who Jason just came out to last year):

The Washington Wizards, who Collins ended last season with (after being traded to the team in the deal that sent Jordan Crawford to Boston), issued a statement.

“We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”

Doc Rivers, who coached Collins in Boston, also issued a statement in support.

“I am extremely happy and proud of Jason Collin.” Rivers said. “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.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he didn’t think this would be a huge impact in the locker room, via the twitter of Eric Koreen of the National Post in Canada.

“I don’t think he would be treated any differently. I think what is underestimated is the maturity of NBA players and how respectful guys are of others’ personal lives.”

A lot of NBA players and other figures took to twitter to voice their thoughts, including Kobe Bryant.

Former president Clinton released a longer statement as well.

“I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea’s classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason’s colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.”

As we had already noted NBA Commissioner David Stern made a statement as well:

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. 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.”

Not all the responses were positive, although most of the negativity has come from fans and commenters. Cedric The Entertainer tried to be funny but wasn’t. Then there was NFL wide receiver Mike Wallace, the former Steeler who just signed with the Dolphins in the offseason. He wrote:

All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH….

Well done Wallace, it’s not like there is a large gay community in Miami….

It didn’t take long before that was taken down and replaced with:

That said, the overwhelming response that I have seen is positive.

  1. Chris Ross - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I think at this point it isn’t surprising that this has happened. Good for Jason Collins and it must have been tough for him to do this. So good to see that there is such a positive response.

    • stayhigh_247 - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      it probably was tougher for him to pretend, this may have been the easy part…

  2. asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    “Cedric The Entertainer tried to be funny but wasn’t”

    Sounds like a microcosm of his career

  3. gutendirk - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Maybe a couple teams will forget how bad at basketball he is now and give him a job.

  4. dalucks - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    True support will be signing him to a contract in the offseason.
    These statements are nothing more than public relations propaganda.

  5. sdelmonte - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    It’s not like any player is going to openly tweet anything negative. Public statements of support are fine. How he’s treated when we aren’t looking is another story.

    As is how he’ll be treated on the court. I don’t expect any sort of “spiking the runner” ploys as Jackie Robinson faces in 1947, if only because the NBA is already known for high fines for misdeeds. But I don’t imagine will be that easy, especially since Collins, brave though he might be, isn’t a star player by any means.

  6. steelers4385 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Doesnt have mine.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      I don’t think he cares.

  7. baymac408 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Bout time KOBE came out!! O wait just Jason Collins…. Kobe will soon!! Lol

    • zblott - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Just two years ago Kobe called a ref a “f*****g f****t” when he thought no one could hear him. Now he’s supporting a gay player when he knows everyone can hear him. I’m glad he and others are supporting Collins, no matter how insincere they are.

    • erckle31 - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Grow up.

  8. mat9844 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    As a life-long NBA fan, Jason Collins has my utmost support & respect. He deserves to be treated like any other NBA player; nothing more, nothing less.

  9. billobrienschindimple - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I am no fan of basketball, but the fact the NBA has the first openly gay player in US sports, has changed my perspective on the league.

    I am proud of the players, coaches, and league execs who have quickly shown public support for Jason Collins. The actions of those above have earned you a new supporter. I knew the NFL would not be first, but also was fairly certain it would not be the NBA first either. Kudos.

  10. packhawk04 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Its cool that he came out, but he wont be signed by anyone because he isnt the player he used to be, and he used to just be a role player. a lot of people will say hes not signed because hes gay, and it will be stupid.

  11. rehmer2389 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Jackie Robinson?

  12. asublimeday - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    “Cedric The Entertainer tried to be funny but wasn’t”

    Sounds like a microcosm of his career

    Haha so true. Never understood people’s infatuation with him.

  13. bucrightoff - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Also if you had Dolphins WR Mike Wallace in your “Who will be the first to say something homophobic” pool, you win!

    • scalfor3 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Hilariously, Mike Wallace’s twitter has his location listed as “N Somebodys Endzone!!!”

  14. proudliberal85392 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Good for you, Jason! And guess what? The earth is still spinning on its axis.

  15. eboneseagles - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Hopefully Bosh spice will have the courage to do the sane one day. All jokes aside good to see everyone supporting him.

    • leahcima1 - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      Your sense of humor is stupid. Nothing funny. You should have the courage to look in the mirror and ask your self why you enjoy hurting people.

      • eboneseagles - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        It’s a joke bud, I’m clearly joking. Bosh is famed for such tendencies.

  16. thebadguyswon - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Good for him. Wish him the best.

  17. bux1022 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Mike Wallace is bum. Worry about catching balls from a terrible QB!!

    • mazblast - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Tannehill isn’t terrible. We don’t know yet whether he’s good or not. He needs better weapons and more experience before a decision is reached.

      I don’t think Wallace is that much of an upgrade for him, though, and Wallace certainly didn’t endear himself to a lot of the South Florida crowd with his tweet/twit. Sometimes it’s better to just keep your mouth shut and your hands away from your phone or keyboard.

  18. bucrightoff - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Well if you thought Mike Wallace was bad, check out Alphonso Smith’s Twitter run. Of course he’s hiding behind God.

  19. erckle31 - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Man, I can’t stand Mike Wallace even more now…

  20. gmsalpha - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I think there are definitely NBA players like Spike Lee said, who suspected or knew Jason was gay. And it never stopped him from playing 14 years in the association, and I don’t recall him getting into any altercations with teammates.

    I’m also very sure there are some NBA players who don’t want to be anywhere near a locker room with Jason, and they have every right to feel that way, but I doubt very much that they will tweet about it. I also think the culture in the NBA is much different than in the NFL. The NFL is the most macho game around, and as the draft shows, a large portion of players are from “the South”, who typically aren’t as tolerant of people being different, especially when it comes to sexual preference.

    Not to say an NFL player or players won’t come out eventually, because I bet they will. But I’m not surprised at all that it was the NBA where it happened first.

    • scalfor3 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:26 AM

      Initially it was surprising to me that it was NBA that broke the barrier first, but the more I think about it the less surprising it becomes. Baseball has a LOT of redneck-type dudes who are into hunting and gay hatin’. Football is full of religious southern black dudes (statistically a perfect storm of homophobia) and has the biggest “macho” culture of the four big sports. Demographically, hockey should be pretty progressive (mostly Canadians and Eastern Europeans) but there’s a big macho culture and the game itself is more conducive to angry cheap retaliatory play. The NBA has way more super young players than any of the other major sports leagues, which is a big factor when you consider that each new generation comes a little more tolerant than the last.

  21. michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Since you posted Tony Parker’s fake tweet you might as well post Bruce Bowen’s as well.

  22. dretwann - Apr 29, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    ….Sometimes its better to keep your mouth shut and your hands away from your phone/keyboard

    Isn’t it funny how the crowd that cries the loudest for freedom will deny another theirs? News flash, not everyone is OK with it and you know, that’s OK too.

    • Kurt Helin - May 7, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      Both right and left do that, say the other side is trying to deny their freedoms. It’s a red herring.

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