Jason Collins is the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. The 34-year-old Washington Wizards center revealed that he is gay in a first person essay in Sports Illustrated.

Collins, who has been playing in the NBA since 2001, said he’s happy to be the first and thinks it’s overdue: “If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand,” he wrote.

He also admitted he was closeted for a long time and even dated women: “When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.”

The NBA veteran, who has played for the New Jersey Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, said the Boston Marathon bombing influenced him to live in truth: “The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”

Collins, who has a twin brother, Jarron, acknowledged that the social climate toward LGBT people is better than it has been in the past: “I’m glad I’m coming out in 2013 rather than 2003. The climate has shifted; public opinion has shifted. And yet we still have so much farther to go. Everyone is terrified of the unknown, but most of us don’t want to return to a time when minorities were openly discriminated against. I’m impressed with the straight pro athletes who have spoken up so far — Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo. The more people who speak out, the better, gay or straight. It starts with President Obama’s mentioning the 1969 Stonewall riots, which launched the gay rights movement, during his second inaugural address. And it extends to the grade-school teacher who encourages her students to accept the things that make us different.”

The center, who averaged 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds per game during his 12-season NBA career, says he is looking forward to hitting the court as an openly gay man: “I’m glad I can stop hiding and refocus on my 13th NBA season.”

Read more from his article here.

  • Pseudonym

    How many people have to come out before society gets over it, acknowledges that gay people exist and should be able to date who they want while not being treated as freakshows, and people “coming out” can stop making the news? It should be trite and yawn-worthy at this point, no?

  • Mademoiselle

    Agreed. Not sure why you’re getting down votes.


    Live your life truthfully.

  • ThinkCritically

    Agreed. Unfortunately we still have a long way to go…just read the comments to his coming out article on SI to see that we are still far from a place where this is yawn-worthy.

  • Carefree

    If a mans penis manages to get erect at the site of a naked women, he’s not gay. Do they get extra points calling themselves gay? This Collins character is at minimal bisexual.

    How does the bisexual community feel about all this shade? I mean bisexuals aren’t ‘repping’ their set!

    SMH at this perverse generation.

  • No_chaser

    What the heck does this have to do with Black females?

  • The Moon in the Sky

    “Clutch remains a cutting-edge magazine for Black women”

    “Clutch will continue to be a force – and resource – for today’s young, conscious Black woman”

    “Clutch has been at the forefront for today’s young, hip, progressive Black woman”

    This site has more articles about gay black men than they do lesbian and bisexual black women.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    How about just do your job without putting your sexual orientation on front street, in sports this spectacle is very distracting from a fan’s point of view.

  • Mademoiselle


    Also, a lot of black women have a problem with be called females (fyi, since you’re already showing some amount of concern).

  • ThinkCritically

    what did the VCU faternity hazing death article have to do with black women? or the countless other articles that have appeared on Clutch that don’t have anything to do with black women have to do with black women? Do you pose this question in the comment section of all of those articles?

  • Mademoiselle

    Fair enough, but I think Clutch prefers these kinds of messages to be e-mailed to the staff rather than taking space on a comment section. I’m sure they’d be happy to oblige their readers with more lesbian/bi women articles if you request it.

  • Marisa

    There are 4 major sports in this country NBA,NFL,MLB and NHL you mean to tell me every last one of them was straight YEAH RIGHT, Jason Collins isn’t the only one law of averages should tell you that. The bottom line is this there have been gay people since the beginning of time it didn’t start in the Village of NYC or San Francisco in 1969. Some people are straight some are gay some are bi, accept or don’t accept it but, for f%cks sake would people just move the hell on already. As if sexual orientation and gay marriage for that matter has any real impact on your life.

    I’m a single straight woman and someone who is gay and a law abiding citizen has no effect on my life, just as a straight law abiding citizen has no effect on my life either. Good luck to Jason and the others in his situation because this world is still ass backwards until this weekend there was a prom in Georgia still segregated. We cant even get racism figured out in any meaningful way in this country so good luck on any real dialog for the rest of the social issues. Lastly I’m a sports fan and all I require of my athletes is stay out of jail cells and mug shots and win titles.

  • http://gravatar.com/oluwabumia brwngirl

    I never understood and probably will never understand why people pen letters and make grand announcements about their sexuality when it is their business. What you do behind closed doors doesn’t take away from your talent.

    There has and will always be homosexual athletes, artist and all other entertainers, but there was never a need for them to speak on it, why? because that was their personal life. I am all for being happy and confident in who you are but why make a spectacle of it? (look at the cover of Sports Illustrated where he calls himself the FIRST openly gay athlete in a major sports team)

    As long as he is honest with himself, females he encounters, , and those who are close to him and truly love him…why should announcing it to the world matter? Unless we think of all the endorsement deals he’s going to see. I mean we don’t see people penning letters expressing their heterosexuality.

    But hey…

  • Starla

    How did black men become the face of homosexuality? Don’t get me wrong, I know homosexuals are in every fold, but am I the only person noticing that black men are now becoming the face of homosexuality?

    I keep seeing a pattern in this world where something negative, or supposedly neagative starts in one group and things get passed around until black people become the face of the issue.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    Thank you!!!!!!!

  • Mademoiselle

    Uh. I can’t agree that black men are the face of homosexuality — not even a little bit. You’ve got Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, Ricky Martin… not to mention that I don’t think men are the face of homosexuality when you have the likes of Ellen DeGeneres plastering her face everywhere these days (ok, maybe not plastering, but she’s always the first person I think of when I hear gay celebrity).

  • Starla

    @ Mademoiselle
    I certainly hope I amm wrong in this. So let’s hope that is the case.

  • Child, Please

    I have a problem with people labeling him the first openly gay athlete in the NBA or any other sport for that matter; maybe the first to announce it (and that might be a stretch), but there are others who don’t feel the need to broadcast it. It’s interesting because a while back Clutch published a story on Sean T. (from Insanity) responding to one of his twitter followers that he’d always been openly gay, but never felt the need to announce it. I wonder how those that are openly gay feel about those that are announcing their “coming out?” And does this truly advance homosexuality or even the LGBTQ community in general considering bisexuality and transgenders are left out of the conversation a lot of the times?

  • Marisa

    I have always said if you just live your life everything will be obvious, no proclamations necessary. Another thing these athletes already know who is gay and who isn’t why, because they know quite a bit about each others lives. Trust the teams Jason has played for some already know. If not for the internet all the athletes business are out, even the so-called decent ones got skeletons. Those locker rooms have locked down more things than the CIA and Fort Knox.

    For instance in certain circles it was well know that Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe could have given Chris Brown/Rihanna a run for their money. Although still to the general public Joe Di is still considered the personification of sports class and decency. For the older ones like me remember when Michael Jordan was considered just that country boy from North Carolina, and we now know how he got down lol. Tiger Woods I thought was just a geek from Standford who could golf out of this world. Record scratch years later every sleazy chick around was attached to him who know lol. The thing is those in the scene knew all the that but not the public. I don’t think an open letter was needed just like Tiger and that I’m a hoe press conference wasn’t needed either.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Think Critically


    I hate comments like yours. It’s not a matter of spectacle. It’s not about you. It’s not about heterosexuals. It’s about countless gay young men who feel ashamed of who they are (whether they play basketball or not) who now feel just a little bit more comfortable about themselves knowing that there is someone who looks like them or plays sports who they can now relate to. It’s about grown gay people being able to feel like they are not alone and there are people of all walks of life who can relate to their struggles.

    Right now, there are millions of male athletes from little leagues to professional leagues who say, “I don’t want to play with a gay athletes.” His coming out is a way to break down that barrier. His coming out lets people know and see that gay people are harmless and just like everyone else. One of the most effective ways to combat homophobia is to peel back the veil that the gay community has been forced to hide behind. When people realize that gay people are not boogey monsters, but they are regular folks, who are athletes, doctors, teachers, lawyers, line sisters, line brothers, best friends, cousins, uncles, aunts…that’s how progress is made.

    Straight homophobes always make this stuff about them. It’s not about you. If you don’t care, don’t care. But, for the millions of gay men and women in this country who are fighting to be treated with dignity and respect, it matters to them. For the millions of straight people who are allies to the gay community, it matters to them.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Think Critically

    1) No one has to pen letters expressing their heterosexuality because heterosexuals are never forced to be in the closet. Heterosexuality is the default sexuality that is attributed to most people. When straight people are told since childhood that who they love or attracted to is deviant and evil and are forced to lie to just about everyone, including themselves, about who they are, then they can start coming out.

    Straight people can date freely, marry freely and live their lives freely. Jason Collins, due to homophobia has not been granted the same privilege. Up to last year, he had told no one about his sexuality. Imagine never being able to date freely or talk openly about your significant other to no one who you are close to. Heterosexuals never have to worry about that. So stop with the false equivalencies.

    2) It is believed that 54 percent of gay people in this country are closeted. If being gay was lucrative and advantageous, no one would be closeted. The idea that somehow this is a marketing ploy is laughable. There are dozens of gay professional athletes if we go with the statistics alone, why is Jason Collins the first to come out if it was such a great career move. Yeah, no. He’s not a fashion designer. He’s a basketball player in a black-male-dominated league.

    3) Oh and to Marisa…

    In what world do you live in that a black male nba player was just going to go around with his boyfriend or partner and it wouldn’t be a topic of discussion? Even if he was just “living his life” he would come under the same level of scrutiny, letter or not.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Ugh

    @Starla…who cares? Why does it matter?

  • http://gravatar.com/khrish67 khrish67

    well he is the first OPENLY gay athlete. Sure there are others but they don’t choose to tell the nation.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Ugh

    @ OSHH…

    When straight NBA players talk about and showcase their gfs/baby mommas/wives, are you as critical of them putting their sexuality on front street?

    The truth is that people like you would rather gay people have a DADT policy because it upsets your hetero-sexist sensibilities. It’s perfectly fine for straight people to display their heterosexuality, but gay people should not be seen or heard.

  • http://gravatar.com/khrish67 khrish67

    Because there are people out there who want to make money by being the ones to tell it or sometimes blackmail. You know how greedy Americans are.

  • Mademoiselle

    To your second point, I actually do believe gay is being used as a marketing ploy in some instances. It’s an instant ratings booster. It may or may not benefit the individual who comes out, but the institutions that make money off that person’s buzz definitely benefits. The NBA wants this to be a spectacle just as much as they want it to be a crowd pleaser. They’re only objective is to make more money/acquire more viewership. I bet PR and his agent had many discussions on how to handle his orientation before the decision to come out publicly was green-lighted.

  • Carefree

    So what are you trying to convey? Are you in agreement with me?

  • Anthony

    It’s good that the man came out after twelve years. I am pretty sure that since 2001, he has not been roaming the shower with a throbbing erection looking to nail teammates bending over for soap. In other words, his history should quiet the concerns of potential Homophobic teammates.

    More importantly, his coming out should help bring he day when people are genuinely uninterested about the sexual orientation of someone unless they find that person attractive.

  • Mademoiselle

    I think the reason it feels like a “spectacle” to some people is because gay people can’t universally announce their engagements or expected adoptions/surrogacy like heteros can for the time being. So these coming out announcements are as close as they get to being celebrated the way hetero couples get celebrated. I think once gay marriage and equality bills get passed, there will be fewer “I’m gay” headlines and more “So and so had a star-studded wedding with his partner” headlines.

  • Ms. Information

    Black men need to come out if they are gay…I am sick of seeing men cheat on women with other men, especially in Atlanta..it has even happened to a couple of friends of mine…..it will certainly decrease the HIV epidemic amongst black women if these men would be honest with themselves and with others.

  • stef

    really who cares if he is gay, he is an average Ball player, that i bet 90% of yall never even heard of. its only a big deal in the 24hr media world

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I say good for him. I think it is about time for the gay men particularly gay black men and sports stigma to be cracked open and broken. I personally believe there are more gay athletes undercover not only in the NBA but the NFL and other sporting associations but are afraid to come out. So if his reveal provides open dialogue and change good for him nobody should live their life in secret regardless of how you feel about their lifestyle instead of hiding and denying who they are.

  • Carefree

    I get thumbs down because I am pro heterosexuality due to the fact that I revere Christian values… Conform not to this world clutchettes

  • Joy

    Care: I hear yeah but everyone in the world isn’t a christian. I’m not gay but if god is real and meant for everyone to be perfrect, or everyone to be alike why are some kids born with defects, one ear, one arm, semise twins joined together, downs syndrome, etc. etc. etc, A lot of people get wrapped up in the sexual aspect of being gay. My point is either god made everyone, or he didn’t. Also why are (some) christians always compartmentalizing SO-CALLED sin? Isn’t sin….sin.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Ugh


    Frank Ocean came out and his album did not even go platinum…
    Chely Wright (country singer) came out and sold the least amount of albums to date
    Ricky Martin came out and when was the last time he released a new album?
    Anderson Cooper came out and his talk show was cancelled
    Rosie O’Donnell came out and her last talk show on OWN tanked…

    I am just curious about all these people who experienced a rise in success after coming out…the only person who has experienced more success is Ellen DeGeneres

  • Carefree

    Simply because they allow themselves to be. There’s a plethora of DL non-black men running rampant in the business arena.

    East Asians consider same-sex with men “casual sex” And 20 somethings white men in college, and active duty military manifest similar mentalities.

  • Joy

    Starla when he was quoted as saying I’m black, and I’m gay I thought why did he have to say I’m black? There was no reason for him to bring race into the conversation. We can see he’s black. Bottomline is I don’t care if he’s gay because it doesn’t affect me. I’m a straight female so a black gay male isn’t on my radar as an available catch? If someone is around a person a lot most people can pick up on a gay male a mile away.

  • Carefree

    It matters a great deal, I don’t our race to be associated with a century old Greek (white) perversion.

  • Child, Please

    I’ll never forget this episode of Oprah I saw where the woman did what most would call “the right way:” she went to school, became successful in a field, met (who she thought was decent) a guy and fell in love with him. Come their wedding night they had sex and he passed onto her AIDS (or HIV, but I’m certain it was AIDS) to her unbeknownst to her of course. Apparently this guy was living a double life and not only did he not care enough to not lead her on, he convinced his family that she passed it onto him.Too many people are quick to place blame on the woman in these instances, when they are just pawns in a larger scheme of things. I’m sorry for what happened to your friends and hope they are safe!

  • Mademoiselle

    Frank Ocean may not have gone platinum, but the record execs definitely pocketed their share of increased sales he got from the publicity (i.e. I had never heard of him before I started reading articles about his orientation, yet somehow his sexuality seemed to be everywhere for a while)

    Ricky Martin was already a has been before he came out, but the buzz about his sexuality not only got him noticed enough to land a spot on The Voice this year, it also got people to take notice that he had a new album coming out that his record label could profit from

    Anderson Cooper currently has his own daytime talk show, so I’m not sure what negative you’re trying to draw attention to

    Rosie O’Donnell was out long before the cancellation of her original talk show, and everything on OWN tanks so I’m not sure how you could attribute that to her coming out

    Every single one of these people’s outings made the network producers and label execs more money from the publicity regardless of whether the individual made any profit from coming out (as I mentioned in the 3rd sentence of my original comment). Their sexuality was marketed for gain even if it wasn’t profit that they ever got to see personally.

  • Joy

    Ugh I don’t get your analogy on Frank Ocean, the country music star, or Ricky Martin. No one sells as many albums as they use to back in the day. A lot of people download songs for free…so why would they pay for an album. Anderson, and Rosie’s shows both flopped because the shows weren’t any good. Has nothng to do with them being gay. Straight people’s shows flop, and are cancelled everyday.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Thank you!…One of them has even remarried but she will never be the same…they say that the rate of this happening is very high in Atlanta….

  • RedStateLib

    I’m black and bi. What’s up?

  • Quelqu’un

    Black men are most definitely NOT the face of homosexuality; white men are. This is why black men (along with Asian men) have difficulty interacting with the gay community and sometimes face outright racism from them. But I’m sure you don’t know much about the gay community and who is the face of it (yet you commented on it anyway…)

  • Quelqu’un

    Not everybody believes in god or in your “christian values”. Some people thought that race-mixing went against “god’s values”, so should we just bring back anti-miscegenation laws?

  • http://thenewrandomness.blogspot.com/ The New Randomness

    I commend Jason for being brave enough to do this, but I think the reason this may be “yawn-worthy” to some people is because Jason isn’t a big name in the NBA. I honestly wonder what the reaction would be in the media and among fans if this had this been an unmarried superstar that nobody thought was gay. For example, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, etc.

  • talaktochoba


  • Rob

    He is not Jack Roosevelt Robinson and lesbians come out almost everyday in the WNBA. His career is coming to an end, many of us in the DC area didn’t even know he was on the team. Good for him but I will NEVER… understand why two guys want each other. This is American so I believe I still can speak my mind.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Ugh


    You are wrong on several points…

    Rosie came out after her first talk show went off of the air.

    Anderson Cooper’s talk show will not be renewed after this season.

    I’ve already made my point in previous comment so I won’t refute the rest of what you said.

  • http://twitter.com/ithas2besaid Ugh

    He may not be a big star, but his coming out is simply opening the door ever so slightly for a bigger star to come out.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    You know what I hate, is being bombarded by the gay agenda and not being able to have an opinion, thought or feeling that is not in agreement with that agenda without being labeled hetero normative or homophobic or some other term when there was nothing nothing negative about my comment. it is in fact a spectacle.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    @ Ugh, I don’t see dude showcasing children and a spouse and you put a whole lot of words in my comment and mouth Truth is I did not say any of that ,but to be honest, who people sleep with is their personal business, gay straight or what have you. esp if you are not someone living a lie on the DL.

  • Darcy

    I don’t agree. Are you referring to older black women or black women 40 and under? Most black females I know have at least one black male friend. In fact, all the gay males I know have a lot of black female friends too. Black straight males tend to be way more homophobic that black women.

    Perhaps you mean that some women hate when some gay men decide to knowingly mess around with men with wives and girlfriends.

  • Quelqu’un

    Good thing he’s not looking for your understanding then!

  • ed

    Finally, a straight black man gives his side of the story. What took you so long?

    I would only add this. Most black children today are not simply born out of wedlock, most black children today have parents who were not/are not even in committed relationships with each other. This indicates that many, if not most, sexually active straight black people (men AND women) are having random, UNPROTECTED sex regardless of the consequences (STDS and unwanted children).

  • YP

    @Red Pill
    I would agree with a lot of what you said, but to bring back to this situation, Jason Collins dated women and knew he was gay. Now, I don’t know if he was seeing men at the same time but clearly he deceived the women he dated. That is my only gripe with him coming out. If you are gay and choose to be private about it that is fine. If you are gay and date members of the opposite sex to hide it, that is just wrong.

  • The Other Jess

    Well, this Jason dude was engaged to a white woman for 7 years so Black women were spared the down-low issue here. And yes, he was on the DL because he knew he was gay but chose not to disclose for several years to his fiance. I understand his fear, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was DL, even if not sleeping around. I guarantee that if his ex-fiance had been Black, the whole tone of reporting in the media would have been on Black women’s HIV status and Black men on the DL, but since she’s white the coverage is all about how happy and supportive she is of his coming out.

    But more importantly, can he play basketball? Because all of this coverage of his sexual preferences just seems unimportant and pointless. Who cares?

  • The Other Jess

    I agree that there are many gay athletes in the NFL and NBA. I always believed that Magic Johnson was either gay or bi and engaged in homosexual sex, but could not mention it due to the stigma at the time – and because he contracted HIV. At the time in the 80s, mainly gay men and recipients of tainted blood transfusions got HIV, and there was no evidence of Magik having ever had a transfusion.

    Maybe if he could have been more open about his preferences, without stigma and fear, he would have felt comfortable seeking out a wider, more diverse body of homosexual partners who had safer sexual practices. Just my thought

  • The Other Jess

    I agree, Starla. But it’s not shocking. Black people are always made into the face of negativity in America. It’s intentional. I don’t care how much people pretend to be sympathetic to the gay issue, no group wants to be known as having a majority gay or lesbian population when it’s not true. Homosexuals represent a very small minority in every ethnic group of the world, which is great, but they do not represent the true makeup of those groups. The reality is that the whole world got here the heterosexual way, and the majority of the world is heterosexual, so it’s normal for people to not want to be characterized as a whole by a small group of people that don’t represent the majority.

    Think about non-white people and white people. Non-white people represent the overwhelming majority of the world, but for like the last 400 years, have had to concede our own ideals and standards to a European ideal, even though Europeans are the smallest group on earth. It’s not an envious situation.

    Homosexuals should be treated right – not harmed or discriminated against because of their preference – but they are not the true representation of any ethnic group because they are simply a very small portion of most all groups on earth. They should not become the face of any one group.

  • Floyd

    Why is everyone calling him brave for coming out? His career is pretty much done. If he came out in the beginning of his career I might agree but this dude isn’t even signed. He has nothing to lose at this point.

  • http://gravatar.com/elgreene ed

    The “down-low” exists because of HOMOPHOBIA. When straight people stop being homophobic, the down-low will go away. If homophobia did not exist, the down-low would not exist.

    Before the black Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, “black” people who could “pass” for white did it so they wouldn’t have to deal with Jim Crow segregation and other kinds of racial hatred. And who could blame them?

    Gays and lesbians today can be fired just for being gay in most states because there are no laws in those states outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. That’s one kind of discrimination. There are others. For example, “street harassment” (homophobic name calling in public spaces) based on sexual orientation is very real for those gay men who are “clockable” (CANNOT “pass” for straight). At least gay men, like Jason, have a choice about whether to “come out” or not (they can pass for straight). Some gay men are clockable no matter what they do.

    The LGBT movement has made great strides in recent years but there is still a very long way to go. This means that the “down-low” is going to be around for a long time: most gay/bisexual men who can “pass” for straight will probably continue to do so.

    The “down-low” is NOT going anywhere until homophobia goes away. Those straight people who want the “down-low” to go away should work hard to make homophobia go away.

  • talaktochoba

    first everyone who disapproves or even despises as i do homosexuality is not a “phobe”;

    second, homosexuality CANNOT be com/pared to the Civil Rights era of 50 years ago–racial characteristics are INHERITED and cannot be changed by will, homosexuality is a CHOICE, much like a menu selection, which can be changed at will;

    homosexuality is not a disease or virus or inheritance–it is best classified as abberant behaviour, and like all behaviour, it is ultimately the choice of the individual;

    all well and good, but DON’T try cram down my throat the cohabitation of two males or females as a “marriage” equal to that of me and my wife, and so demand rights equal to those we enjoy–and then expect me to use my tax dollars to support it;

    finally, ANYONE who willfully deceives another for almost ten years in the most emotional possible of relationships short of childbirth is reprehensible and deserves no forum to offer up excuses for an act so legally and morally indefensible;

    if ever there were a circumstance for a suit for breach of promise, this has to be it;

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