COLUMBIA COUNTY – NBA player Jason Collins’ made a groundbreaking announcement Monday, becoming the first active professional athlete in America to openly admit he’s gay. The announcement was generating a lot of buzz throughout the sports community.
Sports fans enjoying lunch at the Scoreboard Sports Tavern near Bloomsburg watched as the nation learned about the first openly gay pro athlete. It’s an announcement many weren’t very surprised to hear.
“I didn`t think it was surprising at all, I`m not sure why it was breaking news to be honest because it seems to be a fairly common social phenomenon,” said Jeff Carleton of Bloomsburg.
“I feel it`s acceptable and I don`t think that people should be overly concerned,” said Bob Getshall of Bloomsburg.
Collins is currently a free agent, and has also played with the Boston Celtics this season.
NBA Commissioner David Stern released this statement saying: “Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.”
Bob Siana and his wife Barbara are Celtics fans, in from Connecticut visiting their daughter in Falls. They both were excited to see this step forward for the gay community.
“If you were foolish enough to think that there weren`t gay players in pro sports then you`ve probably lived in a closet yourself,” said Bob Siana.
Although many sports fans here at Lucky`s Sporthouse near Wilkes-Barre and across the nation support openly gay athletes, they realize that not everyone does. But they hope this announcement sparks a conversation.
“Talk about it, things are less scary when you talk about it and you may not know somebody personally, but at the end of the day we all just want to be accepted for who and what we are. We`re all very different, we`re all very diverse,” said Barbara Siana.
Many hope these conversations can help society progress, inspiring other athletes to follow in Collins’ footsteps.
“I think they will, I think that it`s courageous. You have to be very brave to do that,” said Siana.