Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis joined CBS’ “Face The Nation” with Bob Schieffer on Sunday to discuss Jason Collins and matters of homosexuality in professional sports. Collins played center for Washington during the 2012-13 season before heading towards free agency this offseason.
Leonsis addressed a question delivered by Schieffer to begin the segment on what kind of controversy Collins’ announcement could create.
“Jason played for the Washington Wizards and called me a couple minutes before the story went live and I told him I was very proud of him. When you own a team you have a big social responsibility to your community and what he did individually was very courageous but it also activated this level of discussion.”
“And to be the first male active player to come out was a big deal. … At the end of the day, decisions will be made on basketball-related matters around Jason, and so it has nothing to do with his sexual preference is.”
By all accounts, the Wizards were willing to let Collins test the free agency waters before the announcement came out, after one season with the team that saw the 7-foot center play in six games and start in two. He’s also been considered by many to be a player that conventional statistics underrate due to the type of defensive presence he brings. It also didn’t help that the most visible prior moment in his career was having to deal with Shaquille O’Neal in the paint back in the 2002 NBA Finals.
The skills that the veteran center does bring off the bench should find him a spot on a team somewhere. As Leonsis said, decisions will be made on basketball-related matters.