Sunday Shows Celebrate Collins for Coming Out, Falsely Assert He Was First

Sunday Shows Celebrate Collins for Coming Out, Falsely Assert He Was First

On the three major network Sunday shows, Jason Collins was lauded and celebrated for coming out and being the first openly gay player in major professional team sports even though that is not factually accurate. The first gay player, Glenn Burke, came out over 30 years ago at the beginning of his career.  

David Gregory, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said Collins’s “big announcement” was the “first time that’s happened” in “the four major sports.” The show had a panel discussion about Collins and interviewed former Baltimore Ravens football player Brendon Ayanbadejo. 

On ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos said there was “some history made this week in the NBA” when “Jason Collins” became “the first gay player in a major men’s sport.”

To his credit, James Carville, though, said the “interesting thing” was that Glenn Burke tried to come out in the late ’70s and “no one would cover him” even though he was trying to “tell everybody” that he was gay. That did not stop the panel from celebrating Collins’s announcement. 

As Breitbart Sports wrote, Collins may better be described as the first openly gay male player in major professional sports the media decided to cover and celebrate. 

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer interviewed Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Ayanbadejo, and Esera Tuaolo, the former football player who came out of the closet after retiring from the NFL.

To her credit, King mentioned Burke as well, like Carville had on ABC. But again, that did not stop Schieffer from allowing Sports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone to say the magazine put Collins on the cover because he was the first athlete in professional team sports history to come out while still active.