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NBA star comes out - first in major US sport


H.R. Haldeman

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Oct 1, 2008
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4,444


I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.

I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.

I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston's 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I'm seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn't even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I'd been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, "Me, too."
Read More: NBA player Jason Collins says he is gay - The Magazine - SI.com

...

A really nice, self-penned article by Collins. His coming out is a first for a major US sports team. The only other athlete to come out while still playing in a major sport - the three big US sports, and football and rugby in Europe - was Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas (the third most capped Welsh player in history):

Gareth Thomas | My family values | Sport | The Guardian

In what is proving to be quite a monumental period for gays - the times really are a-changing on this in the developed world - Collins' move has to be a great thing. But really, soccer is the big cahoona here if we're talking globally. We really need to see a major footballer come out for it to be a game-changer. I've heard there was talk recently of several UK-based players coming out together at the same time, which I think would be a fantastic idea. They should even try to co-ordinate it across several countries, with the full backing of clubs and FA's.

The fear of course is abuse from the terraces. But in this day and age I'd say even the most atavistic on England's football terraces would be too shamed to give them too hard a time. They know they'd make their clubs look terrible, and I suspect that after a few weeks the worst of the chanting would be through. Spreading the outing across as many teams and countries as possible would help of course. (Although, one imagines it would significantly easier for the English-based guys than those in Italy or, God help us, Russia.)

This last great prejudice is withering on the vine by the day, hallelujah. It's happening far quicker and with less resistance than I'd imagined (albeit, after forever.) Even in the US the tide has well and truly turned and it can't be too long now before the whole civilised world is, well, civilised on this.
 

Boy M5

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May 20, 2010
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21,731
Good luck to him, took some bravery, given how conservative the US is.
The NBA spectators are nothing like English soccer fans. However, he will get hatemail etc.
the Westboro people and their kind.

i've met Gareth Thomas - he is a giant of a man (both physically and also in courage / personality).
 

tipp revolution

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Feb 16, 2011
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What does it matter ffs?
 

Analyzer

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Bread and Circuses.....
 

Sync

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I've read the article, it's great, nicely written and adding to the drip drip effect of building an acceptant environment for gay sportspeople to come out if they choose. This then permeates down to the junior levels making life easier for kids in school. If one were to be nitpicky: It would be nice if he had chosen to want to march when he was contracted to a club, bypassing allegations that he's done it now to bump his profile up.
 

Amnesiac

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Oct 27, 2011
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1,035
I've heard there was talk recently of several UK-based players coming out together at the same time, which I think would be a fantastic idea. They should even try to co-ordinate it across several countries, with the full backing of clubs and FA's.

The fear of course is abuse from the terraces. But in this day and age I'd say even the most atavistic on England's football terraces would be too shamed to give them too hard a time. They know they'd make their clubs look terrible, and I suspect that after a few weeks the worst of the chanting would be through. Spreading the outing across as many teams and countries as possible would help of course. (Although, one imagines it would significantly easier for the English-based guys than those in Italy or, God help us, Russia.)
Shame is not a concept many football fans are familiar with. Racism is still an issue, though more so on the continent. Don't be surprised if football fans are behind the curve on this issue.
 

Bill

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Feb 1, 2009
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Does the LPGA not count as a major sport.
 

EUrJokingMeRight

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Sep 28, 2009
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Better out than in!
 

Sync

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Does the LPGA not count as a major sport.
1. No.

2. He specifically said "Team sport"

3. The major team sports in the US are baseball, American Football and basketball, all mens. If you want to expand it to 5 then stick in Football and Hockey as well.
 

NeilW

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Dec 31, 2005
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4,634
What does it matter ffs?
It matters because sport can be an area in society where gay people dont always feel completely welcome. Homophobic comments are far more common on the terrace and in the changing room than they are in the office or on public transport. To the extent that having leading players come out as gay can help challenge attitudes and make gay people feel as comfortable as anyone else then it is to welcomed in and of itself.
 

borntorum

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May 26, 2008
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12,805
Forget about him being a sports star, I'm more shocked to learn that black people can be gay. :shock2:


(I'm not being serious, by the way)
 

Keith-M

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www.allkindsofeverything.ie
Great news and far more significant for the gay community than that "gay marriage" nonsense. There should be more gay role models.
 

The OD

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Oct 10, 2005
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11,432
Forget about him being a sports star, I'm more shocked to learn that black people can be gay. :shock2:


(I'm not being serious, by the way)
I knew a few black people who could neither dance nor sing!

;)
 

Crazy horse 6

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Dec 15, 2011
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Fair play to him. Hopefully more will follow as we are living in the 21st century now.
 
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