The NBA Still Doesn't Have An Openly Gay Player

It occurred to me this morning that Jason Collins wasn't offered a spot on the roster of a single NBA team. This means there still has never been an openly gay player in the NBA and there won't be until someone offers Collins a job or until another player comes out.

I did a quick search before writing this to see if Collins had been picked up and I somehow missed it, but that isn't the case. The search, though, led me to this article from The Nation by Dave Zirin, who writes:

W.E.B. Du Bois, In The Souls of Black Folk, wrote about the burden of having to live in a country where you were constantly viewed as being a source of stress and a complication for others, for no reason other than the color of your skin. He wrote, “Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question…. How does it feel to be a problem?”

We can update that question in the case of unemployed NBA center Jason Collins. Here is a man who made history last spring by becoming the first active player to come out of the closet in the “big three” USA sports leagues and told the world that he was gay. He was praised by teammates, league officials, Presidents, and Kings (OK, Bernard King). But now just for being himself, after a career as the epitome of a "team player", he has been labeled “a distraction” and finds himself on the outside looking in at the start of the NBA season.

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Collins is not going to play 38 minutes a night for an NBA team. But he's perfectly capable of giving a team 15 minutes off the bench to play some D, grab some rebounds and, if necessary, commit a hard foul or two. That's who Collins is and that's what he does and you can't tell me that there aren't a few teams that would be better if they signed him. On top of that, Collins has a reputation for being a great, veteran presence in the locker room — which makes it ironic that he isn't playing because teams think he'll be a distraction.

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