On April 29, 2013, Jason Collins made history by becoming the first openly gay active player in professional sports. He has been given all sorts of support from the President to NBA star, Kobe Bryant. But there is one thing he hasn’t been given yet: An NBA Job.
Averaging 3.6 points through his 12-year career, no one expects him to contribute a lot on the court. But having a veteran 7-footer on the end of a bench provides a positive locker room influence. So why hasn’t he been signed?
There are 360 roster spots in the NBA, and so far, 30 NBA teams have all made separate decisions not to sign Collins. Whether this is a morality issue, the NBA’s anti-gay messages will mean nothing if Collins is not signed by an NBA team.
Collins is attempting to break a barrier and make history. But the barrier remains because of a lack of effort to take it down, not because of a concerted effort to keep him out. Collins has remained in the league because of his hard work and great effort. This alone should keep him in the league, irrespective of his sexual orientation.
Collins will be forever known as a man who tried to open the door to equality and fairness within pro sports’ locker rooms. It would be a shame to have no NBA team come forward and unlock that door. Regardless of team needs, a team needs to send a statement and welcome Collins in. Keeping him on the outside would be the worst message to send to the world.
Written by Tristan Rhee’17