The Brooklyn Nets have yet to actually sign Jason Collins, but their players are publicly positive about the notion. Collins, whose signing would make him the NBA’s first active gay player, has worked out for the team, and is under consideration for a 10-day contract.
“I think we could use another big to help, to help guys like KG, Blatche, Paul, so a big definitely is needed over here,” Joe Johnson said.
Deron Williams addressed the Collins situation directly, saying, “If it can help our team, I’m all for it. I think he’s a great player, great role player. You know I played with his brother for five and a half years and they have similar games, and I’ve known Jason for years.”
Williams posited that media attention may have driven teams away from signing Collins. He also asserted that such a concern wouldn’t deter the Nets.
“He’s a solid role player, I think it’s just the distraction thing, that might the thing that’s deterring teams. But like I said, with us, I don’t see that being a problem.”
Further elaborating on the distraction factor, the Nets point guard said, “It’s not [Collins] being a distraction, it’s just the media coming along with it, because every city you go to, it’s not just like you answer a question once and it’s over with. It’s a reoccurring thing. But like I said, I don’t see it being a problem with us.”
Williams even alluded to signs of progress on this issue outside of basketball, mentioning how prospective NFL draft pick Michael Sam just came out as openly gay.
“It’s 2014, you know. Michael Sam just came out, his teammates welcomed him. They’re in college. It’s time for the NBA as well.”
Williams’ coach was more vague on the issue, praising Collins, but asserting that such decisions are the job of management. Kidd was optimistic on Collins’ prospects, generally, saying, “He’s a basketball player. He’s a great guy. He can help a team, so that’s the way I think any team is going to look at it.”