BOSTON, Mass. – NBA player Jason Collins, formerly of the Boston Celtics, came out today in an interview with Sports Illustrated. His decision to release this announcement makes him the first openly gay player actively on a major American sports team, and has effectively changed the climate of sports for LGBTQ athletes.
“MassEquality would like to commend and thank Jason Collins for his decision to come out in what has traditionally been a challenging environment for LGBTQ people,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini. “It is never easy to be a trend-setter, and we applaud Jason’s willingness to start the conversation and climate shift around LGBTQ dynamics in sports. He has taken on a position as a role model for other LGBTQ athletes, who might now have the inspiration to be who they are without fear. MassEquality is excited to welcome Jason to the front lines of our work to ensure equality and freedom for all people, and would be proud to march alongside him in the Boston Pride parade this June.”
MassEquality, along with partner organizations like the You Can Play Project, is working toward equality in American sports. In February, MassEquality and the You Can Play Project were pleased to honor the Boston Bruins with the 2013 Corporate Icon Award, highlighting the Bruins’ inclusive policies. [pullquote]“MassEquality would like to commend and thank Jason Collins for his decision to come out in what has traditionally been a challenging environment for LGBTQ people,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini.[/pullquote]
Bob Sweeney, executive director of the Boston Bruins Foundation, thanked MassEquality in accepting the Icon Award and reiterated the team’s commitment to ensure equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, citing the team’s participation in “Spirit Day” to end bullying, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara’s appearance in the very first You Can Play Project video, and alternate captain Andrew Ferrence and player Shawn Thornton’s outspokenness on behalf of LGBTQ equality.
MassEquality is continually working to ensure that all people are equal, safe and free, from cradle to grave.
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. MassEquality does this by partnering across issues, identities and communities to build a broad, inclusive and politically powerful movement that changes hearts and minds and achieves policy and electoral victories. For more information, visit www.massequality.org.