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Jason Collins Becomes First Active Openly Gay Player in Major American Sport

Jason Collins Signs With Brooklyn Nets, Becomes First Openly Gay Player in Major Sports Leagues

It’s only a 10-day contract but it’s a historic 10-day contract. The Brooklyn Nets have signed on Jason Collins, effectively making him the first openly gay athlete to play in any of North America’s four major professional sports leagues. Collins made sports history when he came out of the closet in an April Sports Illustrated article but was a free agent and remained unsigned. “Because Collins never continued his career, the revelation was somewhat anticlimactic in terms of its possible social impact,” notes USA Today.

The Nets quickly took pains to emphasize Sunday that the signing of the 7-foot 35-year-old Collins was all about helping the team on the court.

"The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision. We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract," Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement. But the Nets also weren't shying away from the publicity, posting a picture of the contract signing on Twitter.

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