The announcement by Jason Collins in the Sports Illustrated issue that will be published in the May 6, 2013 issue stating that he is gay is another break in barriers that have stood for a long time against gays in professional sports.
Spiritualists believe that the measure of a person is what they do and how they do it, and not about their personal sexual preferences.
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News on April 30, 2013, Jason said, “I never set out to be the first (to announce I am gay.) I was sort of waiting for somebody else to raise their hand.”
He wore jersey 98 this year in honor of Matthew Shepherd prior to his announcement. Matthew Shepherd was killed in 1998 in an assault that was labeled a hate crime against an openly gay person.
Jason’s focus has been on supporting the team, and the timing of his announcement was after the Washington Wizards had been eliminated from this year’s NBA playoffs. He is a free agent, and 34 years old so his continued presence in the NBA in the next season is questionable.
Many players have spoken out in support of Jason Collins, including Kobe Bryant, Duane Wade, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neil. Martina Navratilova has spoken publicly in support of Jason, saying that his coming out may save the lives of others that follow.
Charles Barkley also said that he feels that some will disagree with the decision of Jason Collins to announce that he is gay. “Some people don’t like gays, and they should be able to say that they don’t like gays without being crucified.” There are many people that believe that the Bible forbids homosexual relationships, and that anyone admitting to a gay relationship is admitting to a major sin.
Shaquille O’Neil had this to say about Jason Collins, which is paraphrased:
“Character is found in those that lead. I am proud of you, Jason, for what you do. He has been a model kid, and he is the type of NBA player that all of us players should be like. He works hard and he is an upstanding guy. I think he was waiting for someone else to raise their hand on being gay, and then he decided that he would be the one.”
Kenny Smith, ex-NBA player and sportscaster, brought up a great point. Bill Russell told Kenny that it was very important for African- Americans to be inclusive. Kenny pointed out that being gay should be no more of an issue than being African-American as regards the ability to be a black quarterback or the President of the United States. “The last thing I have to say about Jason, Kenny Smith said, is that he still can’t score.”
This is what it should be about with regard to whether Jason Collins continues in the NBA. Can he bring value to a NBA team with his abilities as an athlete and a team member? That’s how people should be judged in any job.
If a person can do what they are being paid to do and contribute to the success of whatever group or organization that they are a part, then their private lives should remain private. For spiritualists, we support any relationship that is based upon love, commitment and the Golden Rule being applied for everyone involved.
In the NBA, it’s about points, rebounds, defense and winning. Let’s get back to the NBA playoffs as we wish Jason Collins to have success in finding a NBA team for the next season.