[Marxism] The new Jackie Robinson

Louis Proyect 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 
truthful.”

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 
announcement.

“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 
out.”




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