NBA Player Announcement Rallies Support

Jack Kovalick, Sports Beat Editor

On April 29, the first athlete playing in one of North America’s big four professional sports came out as gay. The athlete is free agent NBA center Jason Collins, who played with the Washington Wizards last season.

“Good for him,” track star Sean McFeely ‘15 said. “I really don’t think sexual orientation should matter in sports.”

Collins’ letter declaring his announcement started with three simple sentences: “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” His declaration gained support from some of the NBA’s biggest stars, including Kobe Bryant.

“Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support,” Bryant tweeted soon after the article went live. Even the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, tweeted his support.

However, not everyone was as supportive. ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard wrote about Collins’ announcement, saying that Collins was committing sins in the eyes of God. Also, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace tweeted “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH.”

Wallace later deleted the tweet due to backlash. He later tried to clarify by saying “Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don’t understand. Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended.”

Collins has a twin brother, Jarron, who did not know that his brother was gay until late last summer. Jarron has said that he never suspected it at all. Jarron also played in the NBA for years.

Water polo player Jack Conner ‘15 says “As an athlete I don’t think sexual orientation should matter.” Many Miramonte athletes feel the same as Conner.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. People shouldn’t care either way,” lacrosse player Jessica Alvarado ‘15 said.

Collins has told reporters that he looked up to pioneers before him, including women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova. She was open about her sexuality 32 years before Collins came out to the public. Collins and Navratilova have exchanged emails and fully support each other through life.

Although he is the first major sport athlete to come out, Collins says that he wishes somebody else would have done by now. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different,’ ” Collins wrote in his declaration. “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”