Big news -- historic news -- broke from the NBA this week when veteran Jason Collins became the first active male player in a major team sport to announce that he is gay. This instantly became a hotly discussed topic all over the sports landscape, including our chat rooms, where our experts weighed in with their thoughts. For all of the other chats from this week, check out our chat archive.
Do you think a pro baseball player will come out while playing today? Or will the locker room mindset not be condusive for that and they will be like Glenn Burke or Billy Beane and wait untill after they retire?
Jerry Crasnick, MLB writer
Adam, I'm not sure of the best way to express this, but I think it would be tougher in baseball. I wish I could say otherwise, but I'm not sure if baseball is quite as enlightened as the NBA on matters like this. Full transcript
Mike, do you envision any backlash from Jason Collins coming out like we saw from Karl Malone and Mark Price when Magic tried to come back the first time? Or, in this day and age would the dissenter be ostracized?
Michael Wilbon, host ESPN's NBA Countdown
Thanks for bringing this up. We've already heard Tweets of support for Jason Collins, and not just President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, who know the Collins twins well, but from basketball people, from Kobe Bryant and from Steve Nash among others. Is everybody going to be as enlightened as those two men? No. No chance. Will there be people, including current players, who object to Collins' lifestyle, to his going public with it? Yes, of course. Nothing in American life is met with unanimity. Nothing. I've talked to guys who say it'll be a problem sharing shower space with a gay man, to which I ask, "don't you already share shower space with gay men and just not know it?" But let me say this -- I think the NBA locker room is a very different place from the NFL locker room, socially, culturally and politically. I think Jason will meet so much less resistance in the NBA locker room than he would the NFL locker room, for issues that deal with geography and religion. Not to paint with too broad a brush, but I've spent 30 years of my life in men's locker rooms as a reporter for The Washington Post and now ESPN, and the sensibilities of the NFL locker room, most clubs, are those of the southern Christian right. That's not the case in the NBA, not even close. Obviously, gay and lesbian issues are treated differently, depending on the constituencies, so while there surely will be those who voice criticism, I think Collins will mostly find support in and around the NBA. Full transcript
Jeff (West Palm Beach)
Did Jason Collins change the view on gay players in professional sports? Will more players come out after this or will they be even more afraid of their peers having a different view of their lifestyles?
Michael Wallace, NBA writer
Jason Collins turned the volume up on a discussion that was already being had on a major level for seveeral months now. Players shouldn't fear living their lives, or their lifestyles as long as they're not hurting anyone or breaking any laws. Let's just keep it that simple, if we can. Full transcript