When NBA center Jason Collins came out as gay in 2013, it sent rainbow-hued shock waves throughout professional sports. The floodgates of acceptance open, it was just two years after Collins that David Denson followed suit and became “the first openly gay active player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.” Except Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke beat them both to the punch by a good 40 years.
According to both scouts and his coaches, Burke possessed the skills to be the next Willie Mays. But those same coaches – as well as his teammates, and even the press – simply weren’t ready to accept an openly gay athlete in the late ‘70s. Though Burke was never secretive about it, sportswriters straight-up refused to acknowledge his sexuality, and coach Tommy Lasorda and team VP Al Campanis even went so far as to attempt to buy Burke straight, offering him $75,000 to engage in a phony marriage. Burke refused, and after only two years with the Dodgers, he was traded to the Oakland A’s, where manager Billy Martin introduced him to his new teammates by saying, “Oh, by the way, this is Glenn Burke and he’s a faggot.”
In Oakland, Burke featured in the starting lineup by day and frequented San Francisco’s many fine gay establishments by night. Still, neither the media nor the MLB were willing to recognize his sexuality, and in 1980, a highly conflicted Burke walked away from the sport he loved.
I saw this today and I am disgusted at the commentary. The fact that they don’t perceive themselves as homophobic or a bigot, complain about being “silenced” because they are straight, and then have the guts to say homophobia is being shoved down their throats, when this person was the one to go out of their way to shove their opinions down everyone who could read it astounds me.
This is a picture of love and celebration, of happiness. Not only did he get drafted, he has his boyfriend with him to share the moment. They kissed and it was shown on television. The thing is, if a woman and a man did this there would be no fuss because it would be seen as what it is, normal and celebratory.
You are bigot and a homophobe who shoves your beliefs down your children's throats. To force them into believing what you do. To turn this into Christians being victimized because of Tim Tebow is fucking ridiculous.
Not only was he openly gay when drafted, he is in an interracial relationship which, still to this day, gets frowned upon and leads people into thinking that its okay to insult them for loving each other.
If I said that I didn’t agree with white people on television because it goes against my beliefs- then it should be okay to completely get rid of white people from media so they aren’t shoved in my face- right?
YOU ARE NOT SILENCED. You are speaking over people who are victims of verbal abuse, of hate, of violence because of who they love. You are so fucking shitty I can’t deal with it right now.
NBA’s own Jason Collins sat down with us to share his story of coming to terms with himself and how it got better for him once he found community and acceptance. Check it out on this week's It Got Better only on L Studio!
Brooklyn signs Jason Collins, NBA’s first openly gay player
NBCSports: The Nets announced the signing of Jason Collins to a 10-day contract on Sunday, making him the first openly gay, active professional athlete to play for any of the four major professional sports leagues in the country.
While that’s a milestone certainly worth celebrating, the best part of the Collins signing is that it has nothing to do with his sexual preference.
“The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” Nets GM Billy King said in the team’s official release — one which made no mention of Collins’ sexuality.
Jason Collins, NBA’s 1st openly gay player, takes court
NBC News: Jason Collins became the first openly gay player to compete in major U.S. professional sports league Sunday night as the Brooklyn Nets faced the Lakers in Los Angeles.
In a pregame news briefing, Collins had a message for athletes who may have to deal with a challenging set of circumstances.
“My message to other athletes is to be yourself,” Collins said. “Be your true authentic self, and never be afraid to be your authentic self.”
Collins revealed he is gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated at the end of last season, his 12th in the league. He was without a team this year and remained unsigned until Sunday’s deal with the Nets.
Photo: Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins defends against Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard MarShon Brooks during the first half of Sunday’s game at the Staples Center. (Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports / Reuters)
Comparing Tim Tebow and Jason Collins makes a lot of sense (if you don't really think about it)
Scott Stantis’ cartoon
So Scott Stantis, a conservative cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, decided this was the appropriate reaction to NBA player Jason Collins coming out. If you’re not rolling your eyes or if you have not just face-palmed so hard that I can take fingerprints from your face, let me tell you why you should.
Please tell me the last time an American committed suicide because he was bullied for being a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was disowned by her parents for being a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was told that the Bible said they will go to hell for all eternity for being a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was not allowed to marry the person he loves because he is a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was denied hospital visiting rights because she is a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was not able to enlist in the military because he was a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American was dragged behind a truck for being a Christian.
Please tell me the last time an American athlete had to pretend to be another religion because he was secretly Christian.
Please tell me the last time that a college football player was asked what religion he was by teams before the NFL draft.
A new “religious freedom” law in Indiana touched off a firestorm of criticism across the country Friday, after opponents warned that it could lead to legal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the state’s business establishments.
The measure, which Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ® signed into law Thursday, allows any individual or corporation to cite religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party. The legislation has already prompted threats of boycott from public officials and celebrities. “Star Trek” actor and LGBT activist George Takei expressed his outrage on Twitter using the hashtag #BoycottIndiana. Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, also took to Twitter to ask Pence whether it would “be legal for someone to discriminate against me.” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) prohibited the use of taxpayer money to fund any city employees’ trips to Indiana. And Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has canceled the company’s events in the state.
In some Indiana cities, stickers reading “This Business Serves Everyone” have been spotted in shop windows.