No surprise here, former free agent Jason Collins has finally signed with a new team for the first time since announcing to the world that he was gay. The Brooklyn Nets signed Collins to a 10-day contract that will likely be extended. Sunday evening, he suited up in a Nets uniform and played against the Lakers.
The New York Times Reports:
The signing represents a significant step toward transforming North American professional sports into a more welcoming environment for gay athletes. Until Sunday night, no N.B.A. game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The N.F.L., Major League Baseball and the N.H.L. — the continent’s other three traditional major sports leagues — have never had a publicly gay participant.
The very act of Collins’s suiting up and stepping onto the court — he entered the game to warm applause in the second quarter — represented a milestone in the effort to change a sports culture that some feel has lagged far behind society at large in acceptance of gay people. Collins played 11 minutes in the Nets’ 108-102 victory, finishing with no points, two rebounds, a steal and five fouls.
Collins said he had little time to process it all. He awoke Sunday morning to text messages from his agent and Nets Coach Jason Kidd alerting him to the move, and hours later he was signing his contract. A few hours after that, he was taking his physical and preparing to play his first game since April 17.
“Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, the game plan assignment,” Collins, sitting at a lectern, said less than an hour before the game Sunday night. “I don’t have time to really think about history right now.”
I knew it would happen sooner or later, the league always need big men and at 35 years old, Collins has more time and game play left in him.
This move comes right on the heels of college football player Michael Sam revealing that he is also gay, right before the upcoming NFL draft. He’s currently working out for recruiters and competing for a spot on a team at the NFL Scouting Combine. In his interview at the combine with reporters, Sam displayed a lot of class and professionalism. Its clear that he’s more concerned about earning a spot on a NFL team playing the game that he loves, than being a “trailblazer”.