Jason Collins revealed that he was teased over his sexuality during his first month with the Brooklyn Nets. Collins, who is the the league's first openly gay player, has learned that "You can't control what people do" and brushes off taunting, he said in an interview with the New York Daily News.
The incident he brought up involved an unidentified player from an opposing team. "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."
Rather than harp on bullying, Collins keeps his attention on the game. The Nets' center's 10-day contract with the Brooklyn team has been extended through the remainder of the season, and he is gearing up to travel to away games in the likes of Louisiana and North Carolina (both states that have banned gay marriage).
Even though he averages less than a full point per game, and only eight minutes of playing time, he's already among the more popular Nets players. His jersey — which is No. 98 in honor of Mathew Shepherd, a gay teen killed in a hate crime 16 years ago — is a top seller, and things with Collins are pretty consistent on the court.
The Nets stand at 10-3 and haven't lost a home game since Collins joined. "This shows that [my sexuality being a ] ‘distraction’ is B.S. That it’s about the team, it’s about the sport,” he said. “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 Net will play the Boston Celtics tonight, at Brookyln's Barclays Center.
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