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Jason Collins says he’s been the target of gay taunts from another player since joining Nets

Mar 20, 2014, 7:46 PM EDT

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Jason Collins has had a relatively quiet tenure since joining the Nets on Feb. 23, and that’s been viewed by almost everyone as a huge positive.

Collins became the NBA’s first openly gay active player once he inked consecutive 10-day contracts with Brooklyn, before being signed later to a deal that would have him on the roster to finish out the season.

It has been all business ever since, at least where the media has been concerned, as well as with Collins and his teammates. But he hasn’t gone unscathed in terms of at least one other player in the league attempting to use Collins’ openness against him.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

From the moment he embarked down this trailblazing path, Jason Collins has said that he’d turn the other cheek when faced with ignorance, accepting that he can’t control the words and actions of idiots.

He was tested once during his first month with the Brooklyn Nets, although the NBA’s first openly gay player understandably doesn’t want to give attention to the “knucklehead” or his comments. … And Collins handled the negativity like he anticipated – with a silent disregard.

“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins said in an interview with the Daily News. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself – just being professional.”

While Collins has been largely accepted without incident (as he absolutely should be), it honestly would have been more surprising had he not yet experienced a single incident like this.

The NBA is made up of players from widely divergent backgrounds, not to mention age groups that span from the teens to the late 30s. The fact that someone “went there” with Collins on the court is disgusting to be sure, but sadly, it couldn’t have possibly been completely unexpected.

It would be easy for Collins to out this person, so to speak, and make his life miserable. But the fact that he’s handling the incident in this way will only make it that much easier for others to follow his path, while letting “knuckleheads” like this one know that their simple-minded views will have nothing but the opposite of the desired effect.

  1. mannyicey - Mar 21, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    I thought that it would be more than just one player. I mean, people would try to get under your skin, especially if you are a big man. They want you to foul out or do something stupid. So I would fully expect for multiple players to use gay taunts. But I did think Garnett at first, until I’ve noticed that he’s on the same team as Collins. I mean, the stuff that Garnett says to players is amazing!

  2. billtetley53 - Mar 21, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Jerze, you’re an idiot. You’ve shown it yourself by the unenlightened postings you make on this subject, but I just wanted it on the record anyway.

    You do know that any number of your friends and family are gay, right?

    How would you feel if a child of yours was gay, and because of your intolerance, killed themself? Stuff like that DOES happen.

    Why so narrowminded?

  3. sixerstrong - Mar 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    If it were in-game, don’t you think that somebody else would have heard the insult? Not other players necessarily, but you can hear just about everything that happens on the court through the first 5 or 6 rows of seats. I’m not trying to say it didn’t happen, I’m just surprised we didn’t already hear about it on twitter or something along those lines.

    • mackcarrington - Mar 21, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Didn’t necessarily have to shout it across the court. Could have just walked up to him on the free throw line or on a out-of-bounds play when cats are man-up in someone’s face. You don’t hear EVERYTHING guys say to each other at a game.

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