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04/19/2007


Brendon Ayanbadejo Interviews Jason Collins on Being Gay in the NBA: VIDEO

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Jason Collins phoned in to speak with LGBT ally and former Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo on FOXSports' 'Unconventional Wisdom' podcast for a wide-ranging interview about joining the Brooklyn Nets, how he stayed in physical and mental shape while waiting for a team to call him up from his free agent status.

Said Collins: “You try to control what you can control. What was in my hand was how hard I worked.  I put myself in the best possible position.”

Collins downplays the anti-gay slurs he received from one "knucklehead" and also tells Ayanbadejo that his boyfriend has come on the road with the team and that the reception has been great. Collins says he has heard no derogatory words in the locker room.

Collins also talks about being a mentor to Michael Sam and running together, as well as meeting Matthew Shepard's parents, a moment that brings up plenty of emotion.

Listen to the full interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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New Zealand's Rugby Team Performs Wet, Shirtless 'Haka' Dance: VIDEO

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New Zealand’s All Blacks defeated England 26-7 Sunday night in the 2014 Hong Kong Sevens Tournament, but the highlight of the night was the rain-soaked traditional Maori 'Haka' dance the All Blacks performed in celebration of their win.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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NCAA Football Player Mitch Eby Comes Out as Gay

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Outsports reports on another moving coming out in the football world.

Mitch Eby is a junior defensive end on the Chapman University Football team, who reached out to Willamette University kicker Commer Mertens, who came out of the closet (the first active college football player to do so) in January as he was struggling with the decision to tell his team:

For Eby, who had only ever come out to one other person, talking with Mertens was a revelation. The two kibitzed over football, Eby shared his fears about coming out and Mertens talked about his experience with telling his team. Mertens had chosen to have his Willamette team read a letter from him at a team meeting - without himself present.

Eby knew he wanted to tell his team himself, but there was some work to be done before that was possible.

After telling his head coach and his roommates, who were also teammates, Eby gave a speech to his team, which read, in part:

I am ready to share with you all that I am gay.

"It has taken me years to accept myself for who I truly am, so it's irrational to expect everybody to unconditionally accept me right away. However, the one thing that I hope that I can count on from each of you, my teammates, is your respect. Your respect as a friend, your respect as a teammate, and your respect as a man.

"Being gay may be something that defines me, but it does not limit me. It is such a small part of who I am. I am the same person you all know, no different than before. I'm still the kid that is obsessed with pretty much anything having to do with sports, I'm still the kid that some of you love to call stupid nicknames like ‘mom' and ‘hot dog,' and I'm still someone who will continue to go out there every day and push myself and push my teammates to be the best football team around. I am your teammate, I am your classmate and I am your brother. And I know that my brothers will continue to stand by my side, no matter what."

When he had finished speaking, the team erupted in applause. Eby smiled, taken aback by the overwhelming response. As the clapping ceased, Eby broke the silence with the most profound words he would share all night: "So how about some pizza?"

Read Eby's full story over at Outsports.

Athlete Ally Founder Hudson Taylor responded to Eby's coming out in a statement provided to Towleroad:

“Mitch is demonstrating great courage and leadership by publicly coming out as gay while still actively playing college football. While the decision to take this step is a deeply personal one, it impacts countless other young closeted athletes who will wrestle with how to compete and live their lives authentically. Today represents another important step in making sports a welcoming environment for all."


Swedish Football Player Marcus Juhlin Comes Out as Gay

Sweden-marcus-juhlin-mainAn (American) football player in Sweden, inspired by the coming out of Michael Sam earlier this year, has followed suit with an announcement of his own.  

22-year-old Marcus Juhlin made the proclamation in the April issue of the European gay magazine QX. 

Out reports:

He's the first American football player in Sweden to come out, and according to the QX team, the reaction from his team mates and from the other teams in the league have been amazing. "They all support and respect him,"QX editor in chief Anders Öhrmantold us. Marcus sent an email to QX in December stating: ”Please help me come out from the closet and close that door once and for all.” And they did. Juhlin lives in the city of Karlstad and is playing for Carlstad Crusaders. Oh, and in case you're curious, he is single.


NFL Player-Turned-Exec Troy Vincent: I Knew 6 Players Who Were Openly Gay in the Locker Room

VincentTroy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, spoke about gays in the NFL with reporters including Palm Beach Post's Hal Habib this week:

"He said that he had openly gay teammates with the Dolphins — he played cornerback for Miami in 1992-95 — but that their sexual orientation was never an issue...

“I’m not going to share their names, but in my 15 years, there were six individuals who were at least openly gay in the locker room,” Vincent said. “No problem. From my days in Miami until I ended in Washington, they were just my teammates. Just like my family members. … We ate together, we flew together, they’re roommates in hotel rooms. It was what it was.”

Vincent has been active in the High Five Initiative, a program launched by the You Can Play Project last year that involves NFL players interactive one-on-one with LGBT youth.


ESPN Poll: 81 Percent Of Pro Baseball Players Believe MLB is Ready For Openly Gay Athlete

MLBpollIn February, Joe Girardi, manager of the New York Yankees, stated that he believed major league baseball is ready for an openly gay player. Now, a poll by ESPN The Magazine helps confirm his suspicions. The informal questionnaire asked a group of players if they agreed with Girardi's statement and a resounding 81% replied affirmatively.

GLAAD reported on a couple of player's responses:

NL All-Star: "We come in here and we're all trying to do the same thing. Who cares what a guy does in his own time?"

NL infielder: "Are there people who are going to give a guy a hard time? Yeah, but not too many. There will be a couple of jerks. But the majority of people are going to be like, 'So what?'"

Now we wait with bated breath for the big day! 

Image via ESPN The Magazine infographic. Check out the rest of it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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