NBA's Jason Collins comes out: What does that mean for gay rights? (+video)
Jason Collins became the first active player in America's four major professional team sports to come out as gay. Given sports' elevated place in society, Collins might have just made a significant step for gay rights.
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Collins’s disclosure is likely to put wind in the sails of this trend, given the coverage it is likely to receive and the interest major league team sports generate in the United States, indeed the world. He is a tough, veteran center who was an all-American at Stanford University and a first-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets. He’s spent significant time playing for the New Jersey Nets and the Atlanta Hawks, with stops in Memphis, Minnesota, Boston, and now Washington along the way.Skip to next paragraph
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Of course, this trend is still partisan, and the Collins story may not change that. In the NBC poll, 73 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents approved of gay marriage, while 66 percent of Republicans opposed it.
Collins was a roommate of Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D) of Massachusetts in college. Kennedy has already issued a statement of support for Collins and invited him to march in the 2013 Gay Pride parade in Boston.
Ex-President Bill Clinton was also quick to weigh in, as Collins was also a classmate and friend of his daughter, Chelsea, at Stanford.
“Jason’s announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community,” said Mr. Clinton’s statement in part.
“Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others,” Mr. Bryant tweeted.
The effect of the Collins announcement would be more pronounced if other male pro athletes follow his example. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is straight but has expressed support for gay rights, has said that there are as many as four National Football League players whom he knows to be gay, and that they have been discussing coming out as a group.