Jason Collins' Coming Out Was Born Out of Self-Promotion, Not Courage, According to a Gay Former Football Player
Jason Collins wasn't trying to be courageous; he was trying to be opportunistic, a gay former football player says.
According to phillymag.com, Dorien Bryant took issue with last spring's announcement by Collins, the journeyman NBA player who had become a free agent, that he was gay.
Bryant was a former two-time All-Big Ten Conference wide receiver at Purdue University from 2006-07. He was outed during the preseason of his junior season, faced ridicule by opposing fans weeks later during a game at Indiana State and made him realize he was not going to be able to put up with the ridicule if he were to have a prolonged NFL career.
"Everything I set out to do, I had achieved," he told the magazine. "I had a great time doing it while it lasted, but I didn't think I could commingle the NFL life and the life I wanted to live."
So when the subject of Collins came up - Sports Illustrated hailed Collins as the first openly gay player in a first-person account when he announced his sexual orientation when his 2012-13 season already was over - Bryant bristled at the notion of Collins' heroism.
"I don't think what he did was courageous-at all," Bryant told the magazine, insinuating that the NBA free agent was just using SI to try to land another contract. "I'm sure he'll do the LGBT circuit. ... But you don't play basketball anymore and you never really were anybody."
Bryant was an undrafted free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers who was cut during the preseason in 2008. Other teams showed interest in signing him, the magazine reported, but said he refused their overtures.
"I was just afraid I'd be 30 and still not know who I am," he told phillymag.com. "I know that 30 isn't the be-all-end-all ... but it is in gay years."
Bryant also said he played with several teammates he suspected were homosexual.
"I think there had to be a solid six or seven guys, who-I'm pretty sure-I mean, they may not have been gay, but they would definitely get into bed with a guy," he said.
That included two Heisman Trophy winners.