NBA center Jason Collins made a significant step forward in the pro sports world on Monday when Sports Illustrated published his column on coming out as a gay athlete. It marked the first time a current pro athlete in any major sport came out, and the obvious reasoning for it never happening was because it's such uncharted territory. How would people respond?
Quickly it became clear that many influential voices support Collins, and that perhaps is progress in making openly gay athletes more commonplace. From one of the NBA's most respected players in Kobe Bryant, to former President Bill Clinton, to Collins' twin brother, to NBA commissioner David Stern, the support behind the monumental news was widespread.
"This is uncharted territory, and no one can predict how it will play out," Jarron Collins wrote in support of his brother. "It's a big deal -- but it's also not a big deal. When the media crush is over, Jason will have the strength to deal with whatever challenges come from being openly gay."
The support from Jason Collins' brother was only the beginning.
Congratulations to Jason - society couldn't hope for a more eloquent & positive role model: buff.ly/10OvOMd— John Amaechi OBE (@JohnAmaechi) April 29, 2013
NBA commissioner David Stern: "Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud (cont)...— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 29, 2013
Stern: "...he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue."— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 29, 2013
Royce White (@Highway_30) April 29, 2013
Baron Davis (@Baron_Davis) April 29, 2013
"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."