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Thursday, November 20, 2014

JASON COLLINS, THE FIRST GAY NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER, RETIRES

Jason Collins, the first openly gay basketball player, has retired.

The 35-year-old will announce his retirement from the game at the Barclays Center, New York City, later on today (19 November).

Following his coming out 18 months ago, he was signed with the Brooklyn Nets. When he did this, he made history by being the first active male athlete from any of the four major North American professional team sports to do so.

Collins has now written an article in Sports Illustrated, paying tribute to how incredible the last year and a half has been for him and condemning the homophobia that remains in sport.

'It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history,' he said.

'It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest. The much-ballyhooed media blitz to cover me unscrambled so quickly that a flack jokingly nicknamed me Mr. Irrelevant.'

Collins' most cherished memories were the standing ovation at his first home game in Brooklyn, meeting the family of Matthew Shepard and wearing the number 98 to honor his memory, and then those number 98 jerseys becoming top sellers.

He concluded: 'There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist. Every pro sport has them. I know some of them personally.


'When we get to the point where a gay pro athlete is no longer forced to live in fear that he’ll be shunned by teammates or outed by tabloids, when we get to the point where he plays while his significant other waits in the family room, when we get to the point where he’s not compelled to hide his true self and is able to live an authentic life, then coming out won’t be such a big deal. But we’re not there yet.'

SOURCE: GAY STAR NEWS

4 comments:

  1. He has earned his place in history. Good job, Mr. Collins! Thank you for your courage.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I definitely admire his courageous character, and athletic skills.
    From a fan's perspective Mr. Collins will be missed. But I wish him well on all of his future endeavors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this retirement might give him more time to dedicate to his activism

      Delete

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