Jason Collins knew he was subjecting himself to potential ridicule from his peers once he essentially made the world stop spinning by coming out in a Sports Illustrated article last year.
Thus far, matters concerning this disheartening possibility have been relatively calm, but the Brooklyn Nets backup center recently revealed there was one player – who he refused to name – who chose to make gay taunts toward him.
“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins acknowledged. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself – just being professional.”
That level of professionalism is what diminished any worries about how Collins would fit in on a team as the first active pro athlete in the four major North American sports who is openly gay. It’s also the same thing that propelled him to take the high road following this anonymous player’s actions. Once again Collins proves that he, in fact, was the right person to take this leap of faith. He could have been completely outraged and caused this story to evolve into something much bigger than it was. Instead, he remained composed and unfazed when speaking of the unfortunate incident.
Collins also had an unbelievably easy opportunity to throw the “knucklehead” under the bus by identifying him. But he wasn’t concerned with getting even. His main concern the entire time has been trying to focus more of the attention on the Nets than himself.
That’s why he’s been the ideal figure throughout this entire process.