Jason Collins first openly gay active player in one of America’s professional team sports. ESPN brings us the details of Collins’ announcement and the reactions from other players.
On Monday morning Jason Collins, a long time center for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, announced that he is gay.
There has been an outpouring of support from the likes of Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, Kenneth Faried, Steve Nash, and more.
Read their tweets and the full article from Yahoo! here. Congratulations to Jason Collins for his bravery and taking an amazing steps that will make the path easier for other gay athletes.
Magic Johnson supports gay son, and discusses his reaction when he came out to Magic.
Here is the full essay contribution from Chris Kluwe, originally published on Salon.com.
After watching the two episodes of “Necessary Roughness” dealing with a gay football player coming out, I was struck by how accurately the writers and producers of the show portrayed what the locker room would be like. Now, obviously this is a television show, and no gay player has come out yet. But the show managed to capture the very essence of an NFL locker room.
It’s about choice.
It’s about individual players choosing how they react to a teammate, and whether or not they let that affect how they play on the field. It’s about choosing to talk to one another and understand, rather than relying on stereotypes and ignorance. It’s about choosing to speak up when it would be easier to stay silent (and it’s all too easy to stay silent and collect a paycheck). It’s about rallying around one another and realizing that we go through the same miserable aches and pains and the grind of a season (yes, even us punters, we’re people too) until finally you get a chance to rest and do it all over again. It’s about choosing the men you bleed and sweat with, tell jokes with, tease and mock over everything because it’s all fair game in the locker room — choosing the friendship and camaraderie over the anger and intolerance.
It’s about performance.
If any NFL players happen to read this, I guarantee you’ve played with or against a gay player at some point during your career — that’s simple statistics. Guess what? It didn’t make him any less of a player. It didn’t make him any less able to push through conditioning drills, less able to stay awake during meetings, less able to rally for the win when down by 10 with four minutes to go in the game. That gay player, whether you knew it or not — he was a teammate. He was your teammate. He was my teammate. Just like the coaches go on and on about every preseason: Once you step between those white lines, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from, what you believe or when you were born. There’s only one thing that matters, and that’s “Can you play?”
It’s about trust, knowing that you can count on the men around you to do the right thing.
It’s about having the honesty to ask someone for help because you know you need it.
It’s about accepting the differences of every single person in that locker room, because if you don’t work together then you’ll certainly fall apart, and that’s when people get fired.
Above all, the locker room is about being a team.
Gay, straight, black, white, brown, red, tall or short — the essence of every good locker room is sticking by each other no matter what. Having each other’s backs. Supporting those around you, because you know they’ll support you in return. Will a gay player face people who don’t understand, people who throw insults and jeers? Absolutely. But if that player is in a locker room full of men, true men, men who understand the underlying bedrock of football, then that player won’t care because he’ll be part of a team — and that’s exactly what “Necessary Roughness” nailed in these two episodes. The cohesiveness of team.
American Equal Rights brings us a video highlighting recent developments for marriage equality.
Marriage Equality and the Superbowl
Anti-gay comments overshadow the Superbowl, but they can’t stop progress in Arizona, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. We have new legislation and strong polling to carry marriage forward from coast to coast.
Today, the sports world is still a struggle for gays. While studies show that society’s perspective is evolving-approval of same sex marriage has gone from 11% in 1988 to 46% in 2010-there is still a perception that homosexuality and sports do not mix. In fact, more often than not, homosexuality is ignored in sports. Yet there are a few athletes that are taking grand steps to change that.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, and Matt Jarvis, a professional European soccer player, have both stepped up to advocate for gay rights and are fighting homophobia in sports.
Ayanbadejo joined Athlete Ally, a program designed to challenge homophobia in sports through athletes speaking to management, coaches, and players. Ayanbadejo stated, “Athlete Ally is about respect and ensuring people the opportunity to be themselves. There’s nothing more fundamental than that when it comes to football.”
Jarvis, a married and well known soccer player, stood up for gay rights by posing on the cover of Attitude, the best-selling gay magazine in Britain. He discussed the fear that a gay footballer would have and yet affirmed that there would be a large amount of support for anyone that did come out.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of athletes taking a stand for equal human rights. Read more from the full article on Ayabbadejo in Outsports, Or learn more about Jarvis from The Independent, in the full article here.
Brain Burke, the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, gives a great interview about homophobia in sports. His son, Brendan, who was gay, was killed in a car accident. Burke’s other son, Patrick, has spearheaded the You Can Play campaign as part of Brendan’s legacy. The video campaign features hockey players telling young gay players that if they can play, they can play – the goal is to keep gay players from dropping out of team sports.
One quote I like is “Much of what gay athletes experience is habitual, not hateful,” and that education and culture change can make a huge difference.
The interview is long, 25 minutes, but well worth it.
I saw this posted on Out Sports site this week. What a great picture! It reminds me that a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Soccer fans are passionate about their sport, and all around the world, the players are adored. Unfortunately, there is a lot of homophobia that persists among some of those fans, players and soccer executives. This 2006 poster from Germany asks, “Would you also beat up your favorite player for this?”
I wrote yesterday about out gymnast, Joshua Dixon was a strong contender to make the Olympic trials later this month. Well, he made it! According to Outsports, he finished 13th overall this weekend at the Visa Championships. The trials will be in San Jose, CA June 28-July 1. Dixon told the magazine:
I’ve always dreamed of being one of the top gymnasts in the country. Now that I’m in that group, it’s a tremendous honor.
Best of luck!
I have always enjoyed individual sports over team sports. Maybe its because I like the more personal focus it allows, or maybe because my ADHD doesn’t let me focus on too many people at once. Whatever the reason, swimming, track and field, MMA, gymnastics… those are some of my favorites to watch.
That’s why I look forward to to the Olympics. For a few weeks, I get to watch the best athletes in the world competing in sports I don’t usually get to see on a regular basis. One of my favorite sports to watch is gymnastics. I think I am drawn to watch things that are out of my reach, and gymnastics embodies that perfectly. I am not all that strong, I am not very fast, I am clumsy, and I am deathly afraid of heights. Watching a gymnast fly through the air or perform some amazing feat of strength and balance fills me with awe.
I read an article a few weeks ago about Joshua Dixon. He is a Stanford grad with hopes of making the Olympic team this year. What was striking was the universal positive reception he got from his teammates as well as the gymnastics community when he came out. The world is certainly changing. Joshua Dixon is not a gay athlete, he’s an athlete that is gay. If he does make the team, it would make him the first openly gay Olympic gymnast for the US.
Check out these clips of his skills at the 2012 Visa Championships happening this weekend. Dixon finished fifth in the vault and high bars, and he tied for seventh in the floor exercise after the first day. He’s an amazing athlete – I hope he makes the team and shows the world what an out athlete can do!