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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NBA player Jason Collins comes out as gay
2013-04-29

This article shared 2563 times since Mon Apr 29, 2013
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The NBA's Jason Collins made history today by coming out as gay — the first time an NBA player has done so while still actively playing. Collins, a center, finished this season with the Washington Wizards, and has also played for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Atlanta Hawks, and Memphis Grizzlies. Collins made the announcement in an interview with Sports Illustrated.

HRC President Chad Griffin released the following statement:

"With his brave and honest announcement today, Jason Collins has forever changed the face of sports. No longer will prejudice and fear force gay athletes to remain silent about a fundamental part of their lives. By coming out and living openly while still an active NBA player, Collins has courageously shown the world that one's sexual orientation is no longer an impediment to achieving one's goals, even at the highest levels of professional sports.

"Jason Collins' commitment to living openly is a monumental step forward toward greater equality and he immediately becomes a role model for youth all across this country. His actions today tell LGBT young people that what will define our success in life is our character and dedication, not our sexual orientation. At a moment when millions are reflecting on the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, Jason Collins is a hero for our own times.

"Today's announcement again shows that gay Americans are our teachers, police officers, nurses, lawyers and even our professional athletes. We contribute to every aspect of our American community and deserve the same equal rights as every American."

See story here: sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/20130429/jason-collins-gay-nba-player/ .

Sports Illustrated Press Release:

JASON COLLINS, 12-YEAR NBA VETERAN ANNOUNCES HE IS GAY

(NEW YORK — April 29, 2013) — "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black and I'm gay," begins Jason Collins the 7-foot, 12-year NBA veteran who sat down with Sports Illustrated contributor Franz Lidz and Executive Editor L. Jon Wertheim to openly discuss his sexuality and why he is now making it public. Collins's exclusive story is part of a Sports Illustrated cross-platform editorial package on the gay athlete. The issue hits newsstands this week and Collins' poignant thoughts can be found here now on SI.com .

Collins's essay takes us through his decision as well as reaction from family members and close friends. "I realized I needed to go public when Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford, 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," Collins explains. "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."

Also from the piece: "The strain of hiding my sexuality became almost unbearable in March, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Less than three miles from my apartment, nine jurists argued about my happiness and my future. Here was my chance to be heard and I couldn't say a thing. I didn't want to answer questions and draw attention to myself. Not while I was still playing."

Collins's decision to go public causes his family trepidation. "My maternal grandmother was apprehensive about my plans to come out publicly," he says. "She grew up in rural Louisiana and witnessed the horrors of segregation. During the civil rights movement she saw great bravery play out amid the ugliest side of humanity. She worries that I am opening myself u up to prejudice and hatred. I explained to her that in a way, my coming out is preemptive. I shouldn't have to live under the threat of being outed. The announcement should be mine to make, not TMZ's."

Also included in this package will be:

— First person reaction from Jarron Collins — Jason's twin brother and former NBA player

— "Inside the Room" from Executive Editor, Jon Wertheim

— Editor's Letter from SI Managing Editor Chris Stone — How this piece came together.

— Agent Arm Tellem on his inspiring client.

— A S.L. Price examination on the moment an athlete decides to come out with perspective from Rachel Robinson, Paul Tagliabue, Chris Kluwe, Billie Jean King and more.


This article shared 2563 times since Mon Apr 29, 2013
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