In an interview with the NY Daily News, Jason Collins reveals that, since he became the first openly gay player in the NBA, another player shouted an anti-gay taunt at him during a game. Despite the insult from the unidentified player, Collins says he kept his cool on the court.
From the moment he embarked down this trailblazing path, Jason Collins has said that he’d turn the other cheek when faced with ignorance, accepting that he can’t control the words and actions of idiots.
He was tested once during his first month with the Brooklyn Nets, although the NBA’s first openly gay player understandably doesn’t want to give attention to the “knucklehead” or his comments.
“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins said in an interview with the Daily News. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself just being professional.”
In the interview, Collins also acknowledged his responsibility as a role model.
Despite his attempts to divert the conversation from anything unrelated to basketball when talking to the Nets media, Collins is aware of his role as a civil leader. It can be seen in his Twitter account, where he brings attention to health care reform, marriage equality and an NFL combine update about gay footballer player Michael Sam.
“As an individual, as a person, as a human being, you have a lot of different hats that you wear,” he said. “Whether you’re an athlete or a human being trying to empower and help others. I’m trying to, again, empower and help others any way that I can.”
It was revealed last week that Collins will play for the Brooklyn Nets for the rest of the season.