Jason Collins Comes Out, Twitter Reacts

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2013 2:53 PM ET

Since Sports Illustrated published its powerful op-ed this morning from NBA free agent Jason Collins proclaiming that the former Washington Wizards center is a proud gay man, Collins's name has been trending in Twitter's top five. The vast majority of the responses have been supportive, including those from a former president, the White House press secretary, filmmakers, and celebrities. But a few homophobes just couldn't let Collins come out without tossing in their own two cents in the form of 140 characters. Find a collection of some of the best reactions below, and click through to the next page to read what the haters have to say.

Speaking to the White House press corps, press secretary Jay Carney called Collins "courageous" and said the 34-year-old NBA veteran has the White House's support, according to the Associated Press. "We view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place in this country," said Carney. 

Fellow NBA star Kobe Bryant:


Proud of @jasoncollins34. Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support #mambaarmystandup #BYOU

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 29, 2013

President Bill Clinton:


I'm proud to call Jason Collins a friend. wjcf.co/154piCi

— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) April 29, 2013

NBA commissioner David Stern posted a four-tweet statement supporting Collins:


NBA Commissioner David Stern statement re: Washington Wizards center Jason Collins announcement today: (1/4)

— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2013

“As Adam Silver and I said to Jason, we have known the Collins family since Jason and Jarron joined the NBA in 2001 (2/4)

— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2013

and they have been exemplary members of the NBA family. Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout (3/4)

— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2013

his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.” #NBAFamily (4/4)

— NBA (@NBA) April 29, 2013


The Washington Wizards, for whom Collins played center last season, also support their former teammate:


#Wizards Statement "We are extremely proud of Jason & support his decision to live his life proudly and openly." More nba.com/wizards/wizard…

— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) April 29, 2013


Chelsea Clinton, who first befriended Collins when they attended Stanford University together:


Very proud of my friend Jason Collins for having the strength & courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA. bit.ly/ZLei9F

— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 29, 2013


New York Knicks point guard Jason Kidd applauded his former teammate:


Jason's sexuality doesn't change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate. @jasoncollins34

— Jason Kidd (@RealJasonKidd) April 29, 2013


Kenneth Faried, who plays for the Denver Nuggets and recently announced he has two moms, also offered encouragement:


Wow this is amazing all smiles.. So so happy Jason Collins came out & announce he was openly GAY ALL SUPPORT OVER HERE #ATHLETEALLY #LGBT

— Kenneth Faried (@KennethFaried35) April 29, 2013


Out tennis star Marina Navratilova couldn't keep her excitement to a single tweet:


Well done Jason Collins- you are a brave man. And a big man at that:) 1981 was the year for me- 2013 is the year for you:)

— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) April 29, 2013

It’s not easy to come out when one is still active- shouldn’t be an issue, but it is. That’s why so many don’t do it till after.

— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) April 29, 2013

Hey Jason Collins-you are now an activist!!! And trust me, you will sleep a lot better now- freedom is a sweet feeling indeed!

— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) April 29, 2013


LGBT Ally and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe:


Big kudos to @jasoncollins34. Living proof that your sexuality has nothing to do with your athletic ability. sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/news/… #salute

— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) April 29, 2013


Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons:


proud of Washington Wizards' player Jason Collins (@jasoncollins34) for coming out. we will stand with you as you continue on your journey.

— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) April 29, 2013


LGBT ally Brendon Ayanbadejo, an NFL free agent who played for the World Champion Baltimore Ravens last season:


By @jasoncollins34 opening doors & doing it his way on his time he has helped shape a more accepting America. May many more follow #courage

— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) April 29, 2013


Out actor and father Neil Patrick Harris:

Bravo, @jasoncollins34! Thanks for stepping up. For standing tall. And at 7 feet, that's saying a lot.


— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) April 29, 2013

But not everyone was celebrating Collins's announcement.

Deadspin captured this tweet from Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace before the NFL player deleted the tweet below, and replaced it with an apology (following the screengrab below).


 

 


Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended

— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) April 29, 2013

And infamous homophobe Peter LaBarbera, who serves as president of the antigay Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, of course sees Collins's statement as evidence of the irreparable moral decline of a nation of sinners:


Wow, an NBA player has a sexual- & sin problem (practicing homosexuality). Now THAT'S major news + worthy of White House praise! #tcot

— Peter LaBarbera (@PeterLaBarbera) April 29, 2013

Outside of Twitter, some antigay words came from sportscaster Chris Broussard on ESPN’s Outside the Lines program today. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits,” Broussard said. “It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality … I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian.” Broussard went so far as to make the statement in front of a gay colleague, commentator LZ Granderson. Watch video below, courtesy of ThinkProgress.