Jason Collins received a standing ovation last month when he became the NBA’s first active openly gay player, but it seems someone on the court hasn’t been as kind.
The Brooklyn Nets center said in a New York Daily News interview this week that he was the subject of gay taunts from another player.
“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins told the Daily News. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself, just being professional.”
Collins re-signed with the Nets for the rest of the season earlier this month. He repeatedly has emphasized that his focus is on the game, and his re-entry into the NBA was put off until after the All-Star break out of fears he’d be a “distraction,” according to the Daily News.
Collins is a vocal social advocate and has taken time to meet with people, such as the parents of slain college student Matthew Shepard, for whom Collins wears No. 98 on his jersey. However, Collins’ activism hasn’t seemed to distract the Nets from their main goal — winning. They’re 10-3 since signing him.
“This shows that ‘distraction’ is B.S., that it’s about the team, it’s about the sport,” Collins told the Daily News. “I hope this shows all players that you can still have your life off the court and not have to hide anything, and still have your life on the court or on the field or on the ice, I guess, in hockey. That’s a credit to my teammates and the entire Nets organization, from ownership to coaching to teammates to everyone.”
The Nets are 35-31 and have won 10 straight at home. They face the Boston Celtics — Collins’ former team — on Friday night at Barclays Center.
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