Sports world, media react to Collins news

Collins, who has a Nike endorsement deal, could see more.
Virtually every sports, news and entertainment program on TV has provided commentary in the last 24 hours on the impact of basketball player Jason Collins revealing that he is gay, from the debate shows on ESPN and the NBA pregame coverage on TNT, to the nightly news staples on CNN and the major networks. In today’s issue of SportsBusiness Daily, we provided extensive coverage of the reaction in our Sports in Society section, and also looked at potential marketing opportunities that might open for Collins.

In addition, we highlighted coverage from a long list of media outlets. However, we didn’t have room for all of it, so wanted to supplement the issue with a list of more of the comments that stood out:

-- TNT’s Charles Barkley told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “We’ve all played with gay guys. We’re going to welcome them with open arms. I think society is more homophobic than teams in locker rooms.”

-- Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” called yesterday’s events “incredibly significant and blissfully unimportant.”-- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told “CBS This Morning” that as long as a team can win, they “don’t care if you’re from planet Mars. It really has changed. The only place you’re going to see hate continue is on Twitter.”

-- SI.com’s Jeff Pearlman appeared on Jim Rome’s CBS Sports Network show and discussed how the news affects Collins’ chances of making an NBA roster for the ’13-14 season. Pearlman said, “I think it’s more likely. David Stern, if nothing else, is a very progressive commissioner. I could easily see him making sure, one way or another, putting a little pressure that somebody signs Jason Collins next season and that we’re not just going to let this moment fade away and have Jason Collins playing in, you know, Poland.”

Collins told “Good Morning America” he isn’t aware of any other gay players in the NBA.
-- “Pardon The Interruption” co-host Tony Kornheiser: “I don’t think this is Jackie Robinson. I don’t think this is Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs. I think this has been anticipated for quite some time, encouraged for quite some time. It’s a good thing that it happened and it will help other athletes come out if they choose to, not be outed in some terrible way.”

-- Reputation.com Vice Chairman Howard Bragman told CNBC’s “Street Signs” that Collins’ announcement will “help him get picked up and there will be endorsers who want to sign him for exactly this reason.”

-- NBC Sports Network’s Chris Mannix said, “The first person that says a negative thing about Jason Collins will be the first person I come across because everyone has nothing but positive things to say about him.”

-- CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb said, “For male athletes, in the machismo world of professional sports, to do this, it is brave and it’s tremendous. … It’s going to be up to us to continue the conversation and to be mature.”

-- SportsNet New York’s Eamon McAnaney: “I just don’t know, moving forward, how much of an impact Jason Collins will have on the rest of society as an NBA player. This not an All-Star, this is not a household name. It’s not like you can judge, Is anyone returning his jerseys? [Or] is anyone buying more of his jerseys?”

-- TNT’s Kenny Smith, during the network’s NBA playoffs coverage: “Why do we feel that in sports the percentage of things in society are going to be different? There are crooks in society, there are straight people, there are gay people, and if you go in an NBA locker room and you go through the NBA community, you’re going to find a portion of those as well.”
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