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Jason Collins, First Openly Gay Player in The NBA, Retires

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After 13 seasons in the NBA, Jason Collins, the first player to ever come out as gay while still a playing professional, has announced he is retiring from basketball. The trailblazer made his announcement in a special column on SI.com:

It has been 18 exhilarating months since I came out in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay man in one of the four major professional team sports. And it has been nine months since I signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay male athlete to appear in a game in one of those leagues. It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history.

On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player.

[...]

There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist. Every pro sport has them. I know some of them personally. When we get to the point where a gay pro athlete is no longer forced to live in fear that he’ll be shunned by teammates or outed by tabloids, when we get to the point where he plays while his significant other waits in the family room, when we get to the point where he’s not compelled to hide his true self and is able to live an authentic life, then coming out won’t be such a big deal. But we’re not there yet.

What exactly lies ahead for Collins is unclear though many suggest he will have a strong role as an advocate for the LGBT community in the world of professional sports. In May Collins commented, 

My goal right now is to empower others. And also support those who (are) like Derrick Gordon, Michael Sam, Robbie Rogers, and over the next months, couple of years, whoever else joins that list of out/active players.


NBA's First Female Referee Violet Palmer to Marry Longtime Partner

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Violet Palmer, who became the NBA's first female referee back in 1997, has announced she will marry her longtime partner on Friday, the AP reports:

"This is actually the big formal coming out," Palmer said. "We are saying to the world, to everyone, here's my wife of 20 years. This is the big coming out."

Palmer will marry celebrity hair stylist Tanya Stine in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be officiated by "Basketball Wives LA" star Tanya Young Williams, the ex-wife of former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams.

Congrats ladies!


'How It Got Better' for Jason Collins: VIDEO

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Jason Collins appears in a new episode of the "How It Got Better" series, joining Tegan and Sara, Jane Lynch, Tim Gunn, George Takei, and Laverne Cox in the story series which dives a bit deeper into the lives behind out and proud public figures.

In the inspiring clip, Collins talks about growing up as a twin in L.A., his entrance into sports, realizing he was gay at 16 and trying to fit in while not feeling right about it (he describes it as "having a CIA cover story and you just believe it"), how Matthew Shepard's murder influenced him, a trainer he saw in an 'It Gets Better' video, finally coming out to his family, his jersey #98, and his road to happiness.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "'How It Got Better' for Jason Collins: VIDEO" »


Donald Sterling Makes Pathetic Beg for Forgiveness, Insults Magic Johnson in Anderson Cooper Interview: VIDEO

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In an excerpt from an interview that will air on Monday, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling apologizes and begs for forgiveness but can't tell Anderson Cooper why he has waited until now to do so.

Asked Sterling: "Am I entitled to one mistake, am I, after 35 years? I mean, I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake?”

He then insults Magic Johnson, telling Anderson that he has spoken with him:

“He’s a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Donald Sterling Makes Pathetic Beg for Forgiveness, Insults Magic Johnson in Anderson Cooper Interview: VIDEO" »


With Regard to Donald Sterling, What About the NBA's Homophobic Owner?: VIDEO

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Donald Sterling worked the entire nation into a righteous anger when a recorded conversation of him making extremely racist remarks to his girlfriend was leaked to the world. It wound up costing Sterling his basketball team the L.A. Clippers, millions of dollars in fines, and being permanently banned from the NBA. Justice was served.

However, Craig Crawford at Huffington Post notes that in stark contrast to the furor over Sterling, little was said over the DeVos family, who owns the Orlando Magic, collectively donating millions to anti-gay causes. For a bonus dose of victim-blaming cruelty, patriarch Richard DeVos said of people with AIDS:

At the end of that I put in the document, it was the conclusion document from the commission, that actions have consequences and you are responsible for yours. AIDS is a disease people gain because of their actions. It wasn't like cancer.

That was said 5 years ago, and yet, crickets.

You can watch a video of Richard DeVos voicing his rationale for his opposition to gay marriage and equal rights AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "With Regard to Donald Sterling, What About the NBA's Homophobic Owner?: VIDEO" »


Gay Nets Player Jason Collins Appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition: VIDEO

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Today, President Obama appointed the nation's first active gay pro NBA player Jason Collins to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, the White House announced in a press release:

Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Jason Collins is a professional basketball player with the Brooklyn Nets, where he has played since 2014. Previously, he played for the Washington Wizards, the Boston Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Jersey Nets. He joined the National Basketball Association in 2001 after playing for Stanford University, where he was a National Association of Basketball Coaches third team All-American and a member of the All-PAC-10 first team. Mr. Collins is a partner with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Mr. Collins received a B.A. from Stanford University.

Also named to the Council are Misty Copeland, the first African American female soloist in more than two decades at American Ballet Theatre; Alonzo H. Mourning, Jr.; Rachael Ray; and Robert Thomas Shepardson.

Said Obama: “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Collins also made the cover of TIME magazine for its '100 Most Influential People in the World' issue.

In a special interview, Collins talks about his biggest influence. Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Nets Player Jason Collins Appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition: VIDEO" »


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