NBA center Jason Collins made waves on Monday when he came out of the closet and declared he was gay. In reaction to this event, sportswriter for The Nation, Dave Zirin, called Collins move “massively huge.” Zirin added that “there are no words for how historic this is” and suggested that Collins coming out will help to start reversing a trend towards homophobia in athletics going back to Teddy Roosevelt.
“Put this into perspective for us,” CNN host Jake Tapper asked Zirin. “How big of a deal is this?”
“It’s massively huge,” Zirin replied. “Homophobia has been a part of men’s sports as long as there has been organized men’s sports, going back to when Teddy Roosevelt would define men who wouldn’t play football as sissies.”
Zirin said that, until recently, accepting a job playing professional sports meant living a life in the closet. “To have an active male gay player finally do this and take this step? I mean, there are no words for how historic this is,” Zirin added.
Tapper said that many “conservatives on twitter” have reacted with “yawns” at the news. “That’s one way of moving the goal posts,” Zirin replied. “If you can’t talk down Jason Collins, what you do is take the air out of the message.”
Zirin concluded that the culture is moving fast on accepting gay professional athletes, noting that Kobe Bryant was caught making anti-gay comments not long ago and is today wishing Collins well.
Watch the clip below via CNN:
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