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Pro basketball player makes sports, LGBT history

April 29th, 2013 | by Will Dean | Comments

 

Jason Collins with the Washington Wizards comes out in Sports Illustrated. Getty Images.

Jason Collins, a center with the Washington Wizards, recently made headlines and history as the first professional athlete with a major American sports team to announce he’s gay. The Wizards are a part of the National Basketball Association.

The 34-year-old Los Angeles native, who’s featured on the May 6 cover of Sports Illustrated, says, “I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say ‘Me, too.’”

Collins’ announcement comes after several months of speculation that one or more players with the National Football League would soon come out. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, an LGBT rights advocate, said this month there’s a plan with equality organizations to prepare four players to come out.

Proponents of openly gay athletes expect Collins will need a strong support system to handle the discrimination he likely will face, the strongest of which may come from sports fans.

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