Former NBA player Jason Collins said in a recent interview that he’s a little surprised no NBA players have come out gay since his retirement.
Collins, who played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), came out gay following the conclusion of the 2012-2013 NBA season. The following year, he signed with the Brooklyn Nets to become the first openly gay athlete to play in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues.
Speaking with Reuters, the 40-year-old Collins said that he knows of NBA players who are closeted.
“So I am a little surprised that … since I’ve retired, that I haven’t seen any other NBA players come out publicly,” Collins said.
“I do know that they exist, that they are there. But some people just, for whatever reason, choose to live their life in private and that’s something that I understand.”
“And I try to tell those players that you can look at my example, or you can look at Robbie Rogers in Major League Soccer; after coming out and playing, he was able to win a championship with his team. If you are a good teammate, they will support you and accept you for who you are … but it’s up to each individual person. I don’t tell someone what they should and shouldn’t do.”
“In the meantime, it’s incumbent on all of us to continue to create an environment of inclusion and acceptance,” he added.