Posted June 08, 2013

Jason Collins marches in Boston’s pride parade

Ben Golliver, Jason Collins, Washington Wizards
(@joekennedy)

Jason Collins (left) revealed that he is gay in April. (@JoeKennedy)

Delivering on a promise he made in an essay for Sports Illustrated  in which he revealed that he was gay, Wizards free-agent center Jason Collins marched in Boston’s annual pride parade on Saturday.

Wearing a black Nike shirt with rainbow lettering that read “#BETRUE”, Collins joined his former college roommate and current Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy at the event, which drew thousands of attendees and is in its 43rd year. WCBV.com reported that Boston’s parade drew 230 groups this year, making it the second-largest such event, trailing only New York City.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center,” Collins wrote in an April piece with Franz Lidz. “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.”

With that declaration, Collins became the first active openly gay male athlete in the four major American sports leagues. He said Boston’s pride parade was a major impetus for his decision to reveal his sexuality.

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.”

The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.

(@JasonCollins34)

Jason Collins poses with his former college roommate before Boston’s annual pride parade. (@JasonCollins34)

Collins, 34, was a first-round pick in 2001 after spending four years at Stanford. His 12-year NBA career has included stops with the Nets, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Hawks, Celtics and Wizards. Collins’ twin brother, Jarron, retired in 2011 after a 10-year career with the Jazz, Suns, Clippers and Blazers.

“We have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”

27 comments
doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

If the NBA and other players claim to be proud of him for coming out, will a team sign him? If not, the debate will be is it because he has nothing to offer a team, or they're not as accepting of his lifestyle as they're trying to portray?

6marK6
6marK6

Did anybody else notice that Nike has already designed t-shirt for this? If there is a dollar to be made, that corporation will go after it. ROFL

6marK6
6marK6

I sense a second and more lucrative career is starting for Collins. 

matt37
matt37

Good for him.

And this whole story is hilarious to me.  You get the comments of "why is this news?!  why do we have to keep reading about this?!  why does SI keep printing this story?!" from the people who keep reading and commenting on the story.

muser
muser

That will help him get a reality show but not and NBA contract...

MattBugaj
MattBugaj

Waiting for "Collins takes part in an NBA game." Until then, he is a non-story. Except for that lucrative NBGay speaking career he picked up for himself.

Jesse3
Jesse3

Well woopteedoo.

GT500456
GT500456

Joe Kennedy, masquerading as a "straight" guy.   Lulz.

ShawnKemp2012
ShawnKemp2012

Why is this guy suddenly everybody's hero?  He only came out at the tail end of his career so that he would get some cash (either endorsements or a last contract from a 'progressive minded' club).  Come out when you're 25, guarding Shaq in the NBA finals.  Come out when you've actually got something to lose.  Sick of this pride nonsense.  People that are proud don't parade down the street - they go about their business with quiet reserve.  

bluedragon
bluedragon

parlayed a failed basketball career into endorsement deals just by pretending to be gay

ashantewarrier
ashantewarrier

@doublejtrain68 Before Jason Collins announced that he was gay, it was questionable if he would be on a team.  Not because of his sexual orientation but, because he was nothing more than the 12th man off the bench.  Collins stunk as a basketball player and contributed  nothing more than 6 hard big man fouls.  If he isn't signed it will be due to his diminishing skills and not of sexual orientation.

Dave3D
Dave3D

@matt37  You assume people are reading the story. Bad assumption. People are tired of the thought police trying to condition us. I for one have heard quite enough about the entire subject, and am finally voicing my opposition wherever it shows up.


6marK6
6marK6

@matt37 Well, it is fair question. Perhaps they read the story and are not sure what reason there was for the story. Not sure what your point is actually. He announced he was gay sometime ago. Now we get weekly stories about how he is still gay. So, why is this news?

matt37
matt37

@Dave3D Says the guy who read the story and took time out of his life to comment on it.....

matt37
matt37

@ShawnKemp2012 Considering gay folks are the last people in America that can legally be discriminated against, good for him.  Considering that in 30 states he could legally have been fired for admitting he's gay, I'd have kept it a secret too.    Considering that he basically opened himself up to hate and negativity, I'd say that he's brave.  And considering that there are millions of young gay Americans that face bullying, hate, discrimination and outright negativity....I'd call him a hero. 

matt37
matt37

@bluedragon The guy played for a decade.  I'm pretty sure that's not a "failed basketball career".

matt37
matt37

@Dave3D @matt37 I can respect that, but by replying and commenting on the story, you're only helping keep it in the spotlight.

riley8
riley8

I never understand the argument that people care bc they make comments.  Just bc you watch or read something and comment does not mean you are a fan.

riley8
riley8

@matt37 Yes what is your point?  I believe Dave3D does NOT actually care.

riley8
riley8

@matt37 Why didn't he come out 10 years ago?  Can't answer that one can you?

matt37
matt37

@riley8 No, it definitely doesn't mean you are a fan.  I agree with you there.  But whether you agree or not, whether you like it or not.....when we read the article and comment on it, we encourage more articles about it.  Fact.

matt37
matt37

@riley8 @matt37 Because we're a country with quite a few bigots in it.  And because he could have gotten fired for admitting it (legally, in 30 states).  That's enough reason for me.