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Doc Rivers, Celtics Players Declare Support for Jason Collins’ Decision to Come Out

 

The Celtics gathered today in Waltham for their final practice before Game 5 of their first round series. While there was plenty of talk about the C’s 3-1 series deficit, the main subject of the day was Jason Collins’ coming out yesterday in a Sports Illustrated article. For the first time since the announcement, Celtics players were able to weigh in and issues words of support for their former veteran teammate. Here are their words, unfiltered.

Kevin Garnett on Collins: “I’m just happy for him, being able to be himself. Everyone’s personal lives is their personal livers and their personal preferences is just that. We’re here to support everything he’s doing. I’m just happy for him, that he can be himself.”

KG on whether he thought he would see the day NBA player would come out: “Never really gave it much thought to be honest. People’s personal preferences have nothing to do with my own.”  

Jason Terry on Jason Collins coming out: “Happy for him. It looks like he’s had a tremendous weight lifted off of him. That’s all you can ask for, for any man or woman to be at peace with themselves. Then you can find that ultimate happiness. Being a teammate of his, I know how hard he works, how dedicated he was to his craft. He was a great teammate, regardless of his sexual preferences. It didn’t matter to me. I liked him as a guy, as a teammate and I still do.”

Collins actually reached out to Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers days before he decided to come out. 

Pierce tells how Collins came out to him: “I had a chance to talk to Jason before the news even broke. The crazy thing about it is that it’s something I had mentioend to Doc that it was going to happen, there was going to be a gay player in pro sports to come out. It just so happens he seems to be first and i was one of his teammates, but to each his own. It’s probably going to open the door to many more. There’s so many pro athletes and human beings that live a dark life, that’s scared to expose it, because of the exposure of sports and what people may think about it. I think he did a great thing though, to open the door for a number of athletes, who will now have the courage to come out.”

Jeff Green on Collins: ”I was happy for him. He’s a great friend of mine. He’s a good teammate.”

Doc Rivers on Collins: “We had talked about it recently. When he called me to tell me, you could tell he wanted to tell me. I told him before he said it, ‘Jason I could care less about what you’re about to tell me.’ And that’s how I feel. I honestly feel that way. It’s a non-factor to me, and I know it is a factor to a lot of people. I’ve never understood why anyone cares what someone else does. And I told Jason that it will be a non-issue eventually, but it will not be right now.”

 

  • IBleedGreen

    I wonder how many times has Collins heard KG said the word fa**got on the court and in the locker room.

  • IBleedGreen

    Can we talk playoffs instead?????

    • jvrs

      Ya that would be nice green but its all ate up with this gay lib story,, sick isnt it ?

  • Ben

    You didn’t put the part about Doc Rivers saying that people need to accept Chris Broussard’s (and many Americans) point of view also…

    • dslack

      Did Doc really say that? I love that "We have to be tolerant of intolerance" argument, the suggestion that you're intolerant if you don't tolerate other people's intolerance.

  • tbunny

    I think what these comments reflect is that these teammates and coaches didn't approach the issue from an ideological point of view. They approached it from: I know, like, and respect Jason. Jason is a good teammate.

  • james patrick

    Forget about his sexuality. How great is Collins the player? Why did we trade him? Would he have the cover of SI if he was straight? Exactly. Moving on….

    • dslack

      Taking your questions in order:
      (1) Collins the player is not great, but he has been one of the most effective defender of big centers (Shaq, Dwight).
      (2) The Celtics traded him because Chris Wilcox refused to be traded and he had the right to refuse the trade.
      (3) No, he wouldn't be on the cover of SI if he were straight.

      Would Rosa Parks have made the cover of any newspaper if she were white? What's your point?

      • hydrofluoric

        In fairness, Collins's claim to fame in 'defending' Dwight Howard was 'holding' Dwight to a 'mere' 46 points in Game 1.

        • Rav

          Yeah, he's not a defensive savant. He's just your regular 7-foot stiff, except he's a marginally better defender of really big men, who with his other intangibles (good behavior etc.) has managed to carve out a 12-year career (and – most likely, with what he did yesterday – at least one more).

        • dslack

          Dwight's career numbers against him are something like 16 points and 8 rebounds per 36 minutes, versus about 50% more than that against the average center.

    • fabzzz

      Dude, you're wrong about this one. Just as your post yesterday was completely unsupported by people here so will comments like this.

      Something good happened for a man and his community!!!! Yay!!!! is a totally fine response.

  • james patrick

    dslack…..

    1 – huh? shaq and howard? if you had said chris kamen tyler zeller, i'd have been oh okay…
    2 – no clue chris wilcox has a no trade clause. i guess he's more valuable than pierce and ray allen, who didn't have no trade clauses (yes, i'm being sarcastic).
    3 – SI is exploiting his sexuality, not his talent.
    4 – point is, rosa parks didn't make alot of money off sitting at the front of the bus. REALLY DUDE. REALLY?! you're gonna go there? rose parks could have been killed for what she did, she was spit on, pushed, called every racial name you can think of. Collins is getting patted on the back. He'll get lots of interviews, probably a book deal. etc. so please, that's an insult to even begin to compare this to what rosa parks went through. the closest thing to rosa parks, which still isn't close, is if a player came out in the 70's. not in 2013. in 2013, who cares!

    • fabzzz

      A lot of people care. That's why no one has done it before. Also, you know gay people in this country don't have equal rights, right? And that many gay men and women are hurt everyday? C'mon dude.

    • dslack

      (1) See my above post about his Dwight's career averages against Collins. He DOES defend Dwight much better than the average center does.
      (2) Chris Wilcox didn't have a no-trade clause. He would have lost his Bird rights if traded, and players in that situation have the right to refuse trades. See http://www.cbafaq.com/
      (3) I don't know what it means to exploit his sexuality. I think the swimsuit issue exploits sexuality quite a bit, and Sports Illustrated publishes a swimsuit issue every year (which is worth more than the entire rest of the year's publications combined — basically, Sports Illustrated, as a business, is a swimsuit issue, and then they have a little side business that involves publishing a weekly sports magazine). So if you don't like exploiting sexuality, you've got plenty to complain about with SI. That said, this seems not at all an exploitation of sexuality. This seems like a very legitimate story about the first man in a major American team sport to be open about being gay. It's a human interest story. It's a story of honesty and courage. Not exploitative, at least not the way I use the word.
      (4) Nice job knocking down a strawman. I heartily applaud your ability to beat that scarecrow into the ground. Note: I didn't say that all aspects of Jason Collins's situation match all aspects of Rosa Parks's situation. What I said is that your logic ("No one would pay attention to him if he were straight.") is true and completely irrelevant. I pointed this out by showing that the same logic could argue that no one would pay attention to Rosa Parks if she had been white. It's true. It's also completely irrelevant. Jason Collins isn't being celebrated for his basketball skill. People are talking about him because he just did something honest and brave.

      • james patrick

        I guess I'm just surprised this is still an issue in 2013. It's like everyone wants to say hey, alright, we've evolved. when i'm saying hey, welcome to the party. now let's get back to making this about basketball as it always should be.

        • dslack

          James, it certainly shouldn't still be an issue. But we live in a country where in 29 states a person can be fired for being gay. We also live in a country where until Monday no man in a major American team sport had come out as openly gay. What Jason Collins did took courage, and it will make a difference going forward. In other words, this is still (unfortunately) a big deal. Gay kids in high school and college will now have a role model and will realize that it's possible to be openly gay and a serious athlete. Plus, I suspect within the next year or two, and possibly much sooner, we'll see many more pro athletes come out.

  • John V

    Wilcox had a no-trade clause because of the nature of his contract. Something to do with re-signing with his old team on a one year deal. I'm not sure of the details, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement says that such contracts automatically include a no-trade clause.

    Collins is a much better player than some are giving him credit for. Tim Duncan called him the best post defender he ever faced. I realize he is useless on offense, but a lot of players who are useless on defense have received a lot of acclaim. Defense is fully half the game, you know.

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