Collins says one rival has made gay taunts – reports
NEW YORK – Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, said he has been the subject of taunts from only one opponent in the month since his groundbreaking debut.
The 35-year-old US 7-footer (2.13m) has played in the NBA since 2001 but revealed after last season that he was homosexual. He remained unsigned until the Nets, with whom he twice reached the NBA Finals, signed him last month.
The Nets signed him last week for the remainder of the season, and while he has received standing ovations and his jersey is the top seller on the NBA’s website, the reaction to his revelation has not been unanimously supportive.
“One player. One knucklehead from another team,” Collins told the New York Daily News.
“He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go.”
Collins said he responded to the slur with a silent disregard.
“That goes back to controlling what you can control,” Collins said. “That’s how I conduct myself, just being professional.
“You can’t control what other people are going to do.”
Collins would not reveal the identity of the player who insulted him or his team.
“There’s no need to even engage in a conversation with him at that point,” Collins told ESPN.
“You would hope that if someone has a negative opinion they would keep it to themselves but at the same time I understand that in the NBA we’re a bunch of individuals and this is America and everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
The Nets, 10-3 since signing Collins, are 35-31 overall and fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.
The acclaim that surrounded Collins in his first few games has died down to the point where he dismisses any idea of being a distraction to the team.
“This shows that ‘distraction’ is BS,” Collins said. “I hope this shows all players that you can still have your life on the court and not have to hide anything.
“That’s a credit to my teammates and the entire Nets organization.”