A week before the Brooklyn Nets signed openly-gay center Jason Collins in February of this year, then-Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson reportedly said that Collins was not welcome in his locker room.
That may have been a reason why Jackson was fired after the Warriors got eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year.
According to Sarah Todd of SFBay.Ca, “during a shoot-around on a road trip before Collins signed, reporters asked then-Golden State Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson his opinion of several big men as possible additions.” When Collins’s name was brought up, Jackson, “according to a source close to the team,” reportedly responded tersely: “Not in my locker room.”
Warriors President Rick Welts is openly gay, and there have been suggestions that he may have not liked Jackson’s Christian views on marriage.
When Collins announced that he was gay in a Sports Illustrated article in 2013, Jackson was criticized in the Bay Area for what were perceived to be icy remarks.
“I will say this. We live in a country that allows you to be whoever you want to be. As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be who you want to be,” Jackson said then. “As a Christian man, I have beliefs of what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins, I know his family, and am certainly praying for them at this time.”
The Warriors hired Steve Kerr to replace Jackson, who has been doing color commentary for ESPN during the Eastern Conference Finals.