[Marxism] The new Jackie Robinson
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 29 11:23:07 MDT 2013
NY Times April 29, 2013
N.B.A. Center Jason Collins Comes Out as Gay
By HOWARD BECK
Jason Collins, a 12-year N.B.A. veteran, has come out as the first
openly gay male athlete playing in a major American team sport.
“I’m a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I’m black and I’m gay,” Collins writes
in the May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated, which published the article
online Monday morning.
The announcement makes Collins a pioneer of sorts: the first player in
the N.B.A., N.F.L., N.H.L. or Major League Baseball to come out while
still pursuing his career. Other gay athletes, including the former
N.B.A. center John Amaechi, have waited until retirement to divulge
their sexuality publicly.
Collins, who split this season between the Boston Celtics and the
Washington Wizards, will become a free agent on July 1. He intends to
pursue another contract in the summer, which may serve as a test for how
N.B.A. teams respond to the announcement.
In his essay, Collins alludes to the situation, writing: “I’ve reached
that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want.
And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the
game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates
recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and
Collins’s decision drew praise and admiration across the athletic and
political realm on Twitter.
“I am so proud of my bro @jasoncollins34 for being real,” Baron Davis, a
former N.B.A. star point guard, wrote on his account.
“Proud of @jasoncollins34,” wrote the Lakers star Kobe Bryant. “Don’t
suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.”
Chelsea Clinton, who attended Stanford with Collins, also tweeted her
support, as did Amaechi, who wrote, “Congratulations to Jason – society
couldn’t hope for a more eloquent and positive role model.”
N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern released a statement welcoming the
“Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his
career,” Stern said, “and we are proud he has assumed the leadership
mantle on this very important issue.”
All of the major sports leagues have been preparing, to various degrees,
for the moment when an active player comes out. The N.F.L., amid
speculation that a handful of players were preparing to make the move en
masse, has been working with gay advocacy groups to smooth the way for
acceptance. The N.H.L. also recently announced a comprehensive program
for training and counseling on gay issues for its teams and players.
The N.B.A. has long included education in this area in both its rookie
and veteran development programs. League officials have typically played
down the need to prepare for an active player coming out, believing that
the moment would be greeted with a collective shrug, or should be.
As Stern said in a recent New York Times article, “It’s our fervent hope
that this draws less attention, not more, when a player eventually comes
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