News Round-Up: November 3, 2017

Some news items you may have missed:

• Woofy Steve Raider (above) wants to know “Who’s your daddy wolf?”

• 40% of America’s homeless youth are LGBT. And to help, AT&T recently launched its Live Proud Holidays campaign to support Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund in their work to end LGBT youth homelessness. Click here to find out how you can support and participate.

• After two appearances on Will & Grace during the show’s initial run, might Cher willingly grace the NBC series one more time?

• 8 House of Cards employees accuse Kevin Spacey of sexual harassment/assault.

• CNN is now looking at putting up a subscription paywall like several major newspapers have done. The New York Times and Washington Post allow ten free articles to be read before being blocked. Wall Street Journal gives you nothing free. Thoughts? Post below.

• Out professional athletes Robbie Rogers (MLS) and Jason Collins (former NBA) share their coming out stories as part of the “One Stride, Many Journeys” series by Barefoot Wine + Out. Watch below.

NBA-er Jason Collins Met With Hillary Clinton Before Coming Out

Out NBA player Jason Collins

Former NBA player Jason Collins addressed last night’s Democratic National Convention telling the crowd that Hillary Clinton was a source of support when he made the decision to come out.

Collins has known the Clinton family for years ever since he attended Stanford University with Chelsea Clinton.

Collins, the first openly gay player in a major American league sport, shared with the audience that he met with the Clintons privately before coming out.

From The Advocate:

“I’ve known their family for almost 20 years,” Collins said. “I knew that they would accept me for who I was and that they would help pave a path for others to do the same. I am forever grateful for their words of wisdom back then and their unconditional support. They knew that my sexual orientation made no difference in my ability to play basketball.”

“My dream was to play in the NBA and live my authentic life as a proud gay man at the same time,” Collins said. “I was able to accomplish both of those goals because of the people who have supported me throughout my life.”

Since leaving the league, the now retired player has become an advocate for LGBT rights, most recently praising the NBA for moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.

Jason Collins Joins Yahoo Sports For NBA/NCAA Analysis

Jason Collins joins Yahoo Sports

After thirteen seasons in the NBA – his last as an openly gay player for the Brooklyn Nets – retired basketball pro Jason Collins has signed on with Yahoo Sports for NBA and NCAA basketball analysis.

At Yahoo Sports, we’re always look to guide our readers to the best, most relevant, original content we can. And today I’m happy to welcome the latest addition to our lineup, former NBA player Jason Collins. Jason will provide original video programming for the Yahoo Sports studio including basketball analysis for both the upcoming men’s NCAA basketball tournament and the NBA.

Jason played 13 seasons in the NBA. During his career, he competed at center and power forward for six franchises: the Brooklyn Nets and New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies. Jason was an All-American at Stanford University and played in the Final Four his freshman year.

Jason will debut on Yahoo Sports “Tourney Bracket Live” show on March 15 at 7:30pm ET.

Watch: The NBA’s Powerful Video Honoring MLK Featuring Out NBAer Jason Collins

The NBA has released a powerful video – “Barrier Breakers” – in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Jason Collins’ coming out is included in the clip as one of the many barriers shattered over the decades in the NBA.

The NBA has a strong history of firsts when it comes to breaking down racial barriers and proverbial glass ceilings.

In this spot, we explore the strides made within the NBA that not only embody Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but the overall guiding principles of the Civil Rights movement.

(h/t JMG)

Thomas Roberts Counts Down This Week’s Top 5 LGBT Stories

MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts counts down the 5 biggest LGBT stories of the week, including

• Marriage equality comes to South Carolina and Montana

• Country music singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman come out as gay 

• A new Indiana University survey finds heterosexual support for gays is up, but straight folks are still not comfortable seeing public displays of affection among gays

• Out NBA-er Jason Collins retires from basketball


Out NBA-er Jason Collins Announces His Retirement From Pro Basketball

Out NBA player Jason Collins

In an open letter written for Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins has announced his retirement from the NBA.

In April 2013, the 13 year veteran became the first openly gay basketball player in the NBA. Although there was talk of the announcement ending his career, it did not. He went on to play last season with the Brooklyn Nets.

His first appearance on the court after coming out was an electrifying moment in sports history.

It has been 18 exhilarating months since I came out in Sports Illustrated as the first openly gay man in one of the four major professional team sports. And it has been nine months since I signed with the Nets and became the first openly gay male athlete to appear in a game in one of those leagues. It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history.

On Wednesday at the Barclays Center, I plan to announce my retirement as an NBA player. The day will be especially meaningful for me because the Nets will be playing the Bucks, who are coached by Jason Kidd, my former teammate and my coach in Brooklyn. It was Jason who cheered my decision to come out by posting on Twitter: “Jason’s sexuality doesn’t change the fact that he is a great friend and was a great teammate.”

There are still no publicly gay players in the NFL, NHL or major league baseball. Believe me: They exist. Every pro sport has them. I know some of them personally. When we get to the point where a gay pro athlete is no longer forced to live in fear that he’ll be shunned by teammates or outed by tabloids, when we get to the point where he plays while his significant other waits in the family room, when we get to the point where he’s not compelled to hide his true self and is able to live an authentic life, then coming out won’t be such a big deal. But we’re not there yet.

I met Jason earlier this year at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Chicago. He spoke to the entire convention, and it was impossible to walk away without noting the ease and confidence with which Collins carried himself. He is clearly someone comfortable in his own skin.

Clearly it was that confidence that allowed him to make the decision to come out. And that decision paved the way for others to follow him out of the closet. From the Washington Post:

What Collins accomplished, however, was hardly irrelevant. His decision to bust through barriers has made it easier for other high-profile male athletes to do the same. In April of this year, the University of Massachusetts’s Derrick Gordon came out to become the first openly gay athlete in NCAA Division I basketball. And a month later, Michael Sam, who had announced he was gay shortly after the Super Bowl this year, became the first openly gay athlete to be drafted by the NFL. Both Sam and Gordon have credited Collins as inspiration for them to be themselves openly.

I look forward to what lies ahead in his journey.

Out NFL-er Michael Sam congratulated Collins on his long, successful career via Twitter:

Jason Collins shares his coming out experience in a media firestorm in hour long chat

At last week’s 2014 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association summit, ESPN NBA editor Kevin Arnovitz sat down with out NBA-er Jason Collins for an extended chat on his experience with the media while coming out in the major leagues.

Collins became the first openly gay active NBA player and he joined the Brooklyn Nets in February 2014.

During the lengthy discussion (over an hour), Jason was warm, candid, and laughed quite a bit as he shared his thoughts on the process of coming out in a media firestorm, what the landscape for out athletes looks like now, plus what the future hold for him.

Before his coming out announcement, Jason credited media training where he learned to pivot from awkward questions, and to not “give any additional ammunition” to “the haters.”

Jason also shared this for those who are still in the closet: “When you do come out, your life is going to get much better.”

Jason was more than generous with his time taking photos with everyone who approached him, and never looked like he was rushing the appearance at all.  He could not have been nicer.

And props to Arnovitz for his excellent Q&A plus follow-up.  Nice to see someone who knows what they’re doing.

I didn’t start recording until ten seconds into Jason’s first comment – my apologies. The recording begins as Jason talks on discussions he had with his Stanford college roommate U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, (who is not gay) about his first thoughts on coming out.

Jason Collins talks on “code words” used to describe out athletes

Jason Collins recently stopped by TakePart Live to chat on the media firestorm that happens when you’re the first out athlete to play in a major sports league.

Collins breaks down NFL coach Tony Dungy’s offensive comments about not wanting to coach openly gay football player Michael Sam, and dangerous code words the athletic community uses to describe homosexuality.

“I think that personnel, coaches, owners — can look at my example, my journey in the NBA and see that after two weeks back, it was about basketball,” Collins says in reference to Dungy’s comments.

“There were games, especially a month after I was signed that reporters didn’t even ask me any questions. It will always go back to the sport because there are only so many ways they can write the article. There are only so many ways they can keep talking about LGBT issues when you’re a professional athlete because you’re a professional athlete first.”

“I kinda laugh every time I hear a code word being used…. Any kind of minority group, and you hear people use different code words and you’re like, ‘I know what you’re really saying and I’m above that,'” Collins remarks.

(via TakePart Live)

Former LA Laker Rick Fox calls Jason Collins, Michael Sam “brave men”

Actor and former NBA player for the Lakers tells Larry King that he believes gay players have always been in pro sports, and he believes Michael Sam and Jason Collins are brave to coming out:

KING: Gays in sports. We have them now in the NFL, NBA, think that’s coming and think that’ll be accepted?

FOX: I think it’s been here, the acceptance of it will grow with time. Jason Collins, and Michael Sam recently in football; brave men for stepping out and being a voice and standing for their own. First standing for themselves, and being role models for other gay men and women who are in the workplace and want to be expressed, so the acceptance now and the growth comes from their teammates and the league.

KING: You say it’s always been here, did you know gay players?

FOX: I didn’t know gay players, I just know as I’ve evolved as an actor and being around Hollywood and working with gay men and women, the understanding of just the community itself, gave me insight into how difficult its been for gay men and women to live and how covered they’ve lived for so many years. So I just look at them and think its been, there has to have been gay men and women who haven’t felt safe enough to express themselves.

KING: When more come open, do you think it’s going to be accepted readily in NBA locker rooms?

FOX: I think you have to demand it. I think you have to just demand equality in general.

Larry King Now, now in it’s second season, is a daily show available online Monday through Friday on Ora.tv and Hulu.

You can watch the entire interview here.