Local coaches respond to NBA player saying he's gay - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Local coaches respond to NBA player saying he's gay

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Washington Wizards Center Jason Collins announced Monday that he is a gay man.

Collins made the announcement in Sports Illustrated Magazine, making him the first gay male actively participating in a major U.S. professional team sport. 

Richmond basketball coach and law student Mayme Donohue is an openly gay athlete herself. She believes it's easier to be a gay female athlete than it is to be a gay male athlete.

"Hopefully, it will open the door for other gay athletes to come out," said Donohue. "I think it will break down stereotypes of what it means to be a gay man.

"You don't have to be an interior designer. We all love those gay men, but there are also gay men who play football, basketball and are very masculine."

Donohue also hopes Collins' announcement will encourage more people to talk about homosexuality and hopefully, accept it.

A sign of how homosexuality and male-dominated sports is still taboo, NBC12 reached out to almost a dozen coaches of boys and men's basketball and football. Only one said he was comfortable talking about gay men in sports but he was out of town.

Bill Harrison with Richmond's Gay Community Center hopes Collin's coming out will spark discussion between parents and their kids.

"Homosexuality needs to be addressed," said Harrison. "Not necessarily implying that your child is gay or lesbian but they certainly know people who are. The more they understand homosexuality, the more well adjusted the child will be."

Nationally, the response to Collin's announcement has been positive. Everyone from President Obama to Kobe Bryant have commended him for coming out.

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