Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green, Rest of Celtics Voice Support for Jason Collins, Future Gay Athletes Who May Come Out

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Jason TerryWALTHAM, Mass. — Before Monday, the possibility of playing with or against a gay player never occurred to Jeff Green.

It wasn’t that Green, who minored in theology at Georgetown, had any moral or religious opposition to the idea. He just never gave it much thought because, to him, sexual orientation is the last thing he uses to judge a player’s abilities.

“It never crossed my mind, but I’m not against it,” Green said. “We all are here for the same reason, and that’s to win. No matter if you’re gay, straight, it doesn’t matter to me. If you can play basketball, that’s our job. Whatever happens outside of the court, that’s his business, that’s my business, and you go from there.”

Green joined a chorus of support on behalf of the Celtics for Jason Collins, their former teammate, who said Monday that he is gay. The first active known gay male athlete in a major American sport was greeted with both cheers and boos, but on Tuesday the Celtics had nothing but positive things to say about Collins.

A sampling of the Celtics’ comments appears below.

Jason Terry:

“I’m happy for him. It looks like he’s had a huge, tremendous weight lifted off him. That’s all you can ask, for any man or woman, is to be at peace with their self. Then you can go find ultimate happiness. I think that’s where he is. Being a teammate of his, I know how hard he works. I know how dedicated he is to his craft and he was a great teammate, regardless of his sexual preference. It didn’t matter to me. I liked him as a guy, as a teammate, and I still do.”

Kevin Garnett:

“I’m just happy for him being able to be himself. Whatever anybody wants to do in their personal lives, their personal preferences, they’re just that. We here support everything he’s doing. I’m just happy that he’s able to be himself.”

Jeff Green:

“Most definitely [he would want Collins on his team]. He was an awesome teammate. He played the game hard. He set good screens to get me open, so that’s all you can ask.”

Paul Pierce:

“I had a chance to talk to Jason before the news even broke. I had actually mentioned to Doc that it was going to happen, that there was going to be a gay player in professional sports to come out. It just so happens he’s the first when I was one of his teammates. To each his own. It’s probably going to open the door to many more. There’s so many professional athletes, there’s so many human beings, that are scared to expose it because of the exposure of sports and what people may think about it. But I think what he did was a great thing, just to kind of open the door for other athletes who probably now are going to have the courage to come out.”

Doc Rivers:

“I don’t know if I was surprised or if I really didn’t care one way or the other. When he called me to tell me, you could tell he wanted to tell me, and I told him before he said it: ‘Jason, I could care less about what you’re about to tell me.’ That’s how I feel. I honestly feel that way. I could care less what any of you guys do. Who cares? It’s a non-factor to me, and I know it is to a lot of people. I’ve just never understood why anyone cares about what someone else does. You know what I mean by that? I told Jason that it’ll be a non-issue, eventually, but it will not be right now. It will be news. Maybe it should be or shouldn’t be. I don’t even know the answer to that.”

“I just think we’re by it, past it. I think players just want to play. They want to win. That’s all they really care about. Honestly, that’s all they should care about.”

Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 194,886 other followers