Skip to content

NBA Center Jason Collins sets the stage, and a wonderful example, for gay athletes

Apr 29, 2013, 2:11 PM EDT

Jason Collins

It’s not a baseball story, but some sports stories are so significant that we’d be remiss in not noting them. This is one of them: veteran NBA center Jason Collins has come out as gay in a wonderful, eloquent and uplifting Sports Illustrated column. You owe it to yourself to read his words on the matter.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has issued a statement of support, as have multiple NBA coaches and players from Doc Rivers to Kobe Bryant on down. There have already been and will be comments from bigots, homophobes and simple, pathetic provocateurs as well. They’ll be discredited, mocked and ultimately pitied in pretty short and overwhelming order if they haven’t already have been. We’re in a very different world now than even a decade ago, thankfully.

Those folks aside, I’m particularly struck by Stern’s use of the world “family” in his statement. While we all know that sports are a business and a quite often ruthless meritocracy, when it comes to the off-the-field and off-the-court human interactions, it makes eminent sense that people within sports, who know what one another are up against all the time in ways that none of us on the outside ever could, treat one another with the decency of a good, loving and strong family.

Today this is a basketball story. In the coming years this story will inevitably play its way out through football, hockey, soccer and baseball as well. When it does, Collins will be the touchstone, and his brave example and honest words will the ones that set the stage for and provide comfort and guidance to other gay athletes seeking to live their lives and play their sports outside of the closet.

Congratulations to Jason Collins for his bravery, his example, his humor and his class.

Latest Posts
  1. Tigers GM says Joel Hanrahan’s rehab status “does not sound encouraging”

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

    Joel Hanrahan AP

    When the Tigers signed Joel Hanrahan in May they were hoping the former All-Star closer would be ready to return from Tommy John elbow surgery by the All-Star break, but he hasn’t progressed as planned and now they’re not hoping for much of anything.

  2. Everything you need to know about next week’s trade deadline

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT

    David Price David Price

    Who is buying? Who is selling? Who is on the block? And is next week’s trade deadline really a deadline?

  3. Which hitters have the most multi-homer games?

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

    Edwin Encarnacion Getty Getty Images

    Four names you’d expect and one name of a guy heading to retirement.

  4. Neftali Feliz expected to take over as Rangers closer following Joakim Soria trade

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Neftali Feliz AP

    Texas traded closer Joakim Soria to Detroit for a pair of prospects and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers will likely turn back to a familiar name to fill the vacant closer role: Neftali Feliz.

  5. Happy 50th Birthday, Barry Bonds!

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Barry Bonds AP

    All Hail the best hitter for at least the last half-century and a dude who has more business being on that stage in Cooperstown on Sunday than anyone.

  6. Impending free agent Jon Lester won’t talk contract with the Red Sox until after the season

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:50 AM EDT

    Jon Lester Getty AP

    Jon Lester is three months from hitting the open market as a free agent and Red Sox president Larry Lucchino revealed during a radio interview that the left-hander has informed the team he won’t negotiate a new contract until after the season.

  7. Derek Jeter is the third most powerful figure in New York Sports? Really?

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:32 AM EDT

    derek jeter getty Getty Images

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  8. Ryan Howard has officially been benched by the Phillies

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

    Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported yesterday that the Phillies have considered releasing struggling first baseman Ryan Howard with more than $60 million remaining on his contract and today is the day it becomes totally clear that the former MVP has been benched.

  9. Ten years ago today the Alex Rodriguez-Jason Varitek brawl changed the narrative of the Sox-Yankees rivalry

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

    Jason Varitek - A-Rod fight Getty Images

    It was one moment in a typical benches-clearing brawl, but oh what a moment it was.

  10. And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:01 AM EDT

    Alex Cobb AP

    The Rays stay hot, the Yankees get an assist from Mother Nature and Mike Moustakas showed us how to jar a bar loose from the catcher’s mitt without breaking the home plate collision rules.

  11. Tigers acquire closer Joakim Soria from the Rangers

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    joakim soria getty Getty Images

    Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com and Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket reports that the Tigers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the deal is only pending physical exams.

  12. Theo Epstein on Cardinals’ competitive balance pick: “Last organization that needs an annual gift”

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    theo epstein getty Getty Images

    As we covered earlier, St. Louis got a bonus pick for the 2015 First-Year Player Draft (just after the first round) in Wednesday’s Competitive Balance Lottery. And it’s not sitting too well with an executive of the Cardinals’ traditional rival — Cubs president Theo Epstein.

  13. Video: Yadier Molina leaves peanut butter crackers at home plate for his older brother Jose

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:58 PM EDT

    yadier molina getty Getty Images

    Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who’s currently rehabbing from thumb surgery, sent a couple packs of crackers to home plate Wednesday for his older brother Jose.

  14. Phillies officials “have contemplated the possibility of paying off” and releasing Ryan Howard

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury has heard from sources that the Phillies are considering cutting ties with struggling first baseman Ryan Howard after this season, despite the fact that he’s owed $60 million in guaranteed money.

  15. Pirates place Starling Marte on concussion disabled list

    Jul 23, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    marte getty Getty Images

    Pirates outfielder Starling Marte took a pitch off his helmet last Friday night. A concussion was initially ruled out — the Bucs were instead calling it “head trauma” — but now there’s this …

  16. Cardinals move Shelby Miller back into rotation and Carlos Martinez back to the bullpen

    Jul 23, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    shelby miller getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have decided to move Shelby Miller back into the starting rotation and Carlos Martinez to the bullpen for their upcoming three-game series at Wrigley Field. Miller will start Saturday afternoon against the Cubs.

  17. Pitchers who leave the Diamondbacks get better. Pitchers they acquire get worse.

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT

    diamondbacks logo small

    Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has some enlightening numbers about what’s gone wrong with the Diamondbacks.

  18. Quadriceps injury shuts down Astros rookie slugger George Springer

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    George Springer George Springer

    Springer got off to a slow start following his mid-April call-up and his strikeout total leads the league, but he’s smacked 20 homers with a .900 OPS in 61 games since early May to rank as one of the league’s better all-around players during that span.

Featured video

Teams searching for trade deadline impact
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3945)
  2. C. Lee (2893)
  3. H. Ramirez (2817)
  4. T. Tulowitzki (2767)
  5. Y. Puig (2661)
  1. C. Headley (2637)
  2. B. Belt (2469)
  3. J. Soria (2318)
  4. T. Walker (2200)
  5. A. Rios (2119)