Jason Collins comes out in Sports Illustrated - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Jason Collins comes out as first gay professional athlete

NBA player Jason Collins admits to Sports Illustrated that he is gay. (Source: Sports Illustrated) NBA player Jason Collins admits to Sports Illustrated that he is gay. (Source: Sports Illustrated)

(RNN) - Free agent and Washington Wizards center, Jason Collins, has come out as the first active openly gay athlete in one of the big-four American team sports.

In an interview he told Sports Illustrated, "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.

Although Collins is the first male professional athlete to come out as gay while playing professionally, other athletes have come out after they retired, and very few in the big four sports - football, basketball, baseball and hockey.

Notable gay athletes include Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.

"When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way," Collins said to Sports Illustrated. "I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue."

Collins also wrote in the Sports Illustrated article he was partly inspired to come out by the Boston Marathon shootings to come out now.

"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?"

He added that "it takes and enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret."

The 34-year-old has played in the NBA since 2001.

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld released a statement on behalf of the team:

"We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation."

President Clinton also released a statement:

I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community. It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities. For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned.

Last year, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and made national headlines in support of gay marriage.

As a sign that attitudes are changing about gay athletes, Nike signed college basketball standout Brittney Griner to an endorsement deal.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • LocalMore>>

  • Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Duck, NC

    Coast Guard suspends search for missing man near Duck, NC

    Saturday, July 22 2017 10:44 PM EDT2017-07-23 02:44:49 GMT
    Coast Guard suspends search Saturday for missing man off our coast (Source: WECT)Coast Guard suspends search Saturday for missing man off our coast (Source: WECT)

     The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing man in Currituck Sound, North Carolina, at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.   The Coast Guard stated in a release that they began searching when Sector North Carolina watchstanders in Wilmington were notified at about 1:05 p.m. that a 45-year-old man went missing while tubing behind a pontoon boat in Currituck Sound in the vicinity of Duck, North Carolina. Coast Guard assets involved in the search were MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter cre...

    More >>

     The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing man in Currituck Sound, North Carolina, at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.   The Coast Guard stated in a release that they began searching when Sector North Carolina watchstanders in Wilmington were notified at about 1:05 p.m. that a 45-year-old man went missing while tubing behind a pontoon boat in Currituck Sound in the vicinity of Duck, North Carolina. Coast Guard assets involved in the search were MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter cre...

    More >>
  • Coast Guard medavacs man from Navy Ship off our coast

    Coast Guard medavacs man from Navy Ship off our coast

    Saturday, July 22 2017 10:37 PM EDT2017-07-23 02:37:16 GMT
    Coast Guard medavacs man from Navy Ship 400 miles off the coast of Wilmington Saturday (Source: WECT)Coast Guard medavacs man from Navy Ship 400 miles off the coast of Wilmington Saturday (Source: WECT)
    The Coast Guard medevaced a man from a U.S. Navy supply vessel 160 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Saturday. The Coast Guard stated in a release that at 3:05 p.m. on Friday, watchstanders in the 5th Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received notification from the Navy vessel NAWC 38 that a 60-year-old male crew member was in need of medical care 400 miles southeast of Wilmington. The ship’s master reported that the man had been found...More >>
    The Coast Guard medevaced a man from a U.S. Navy supply vessel 160 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Saturday. The Coast Guard stated in a release that at 3:05 p.m. on Friday, watchstanders in the 5th Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received notification from the Navy vessel NAWC 38 that a 60-year-old male crew member was in need of medical care 400 miles southeast of Wilmington. The ship’s master reported that the man had been found...More >>
  • First Alert Forecast: triple-digit heat index values to close the weekend

    First Alert Forecast: triple-digit heat index values to close the weekend

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:50 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:50:20 GMT
    The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for southeastern North Carolina as the index may reach up to 109 Saturday and Sunday afternoon. (Source: WECT)The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for southeastern North Carolina as the index may reach up to 109 Saturday and Sunday afternoon. (Source: WECT)

    A hot high pressure ridge remains on-schedule to deliver a heat wave this weekend. Plan to stay rested, hydrated, and neighborly - people and pets!

    More >>

    A hot high pressure ridge remains on-schedule to deliver a heat wave this weekend. Plan to stay rested, hydrated, and neighborly - people and pets!

    More >>
Powered by Frankly