Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Phil Coke has been known to speak his mind a time or two.
While he's typically a humorous character, Coke was serious Monday when asked about Jason Collins, an NBA free agent who announced that he was homosexual. He's believed to be the first active openly-gay athlete in any of the four major sports (basketball, football, baseball and hockey).
Coke applauds Collins' bravery, but he doesn't understand why people are expected to make such a big deal out of the situation.
Coke said the following via CBS Sports:
Well, for starters, hats off to him for being on the stage that he is on and basically now representing all major league sports and being the first. I don’t feel like there should be a need for this, because we are supposedly so much more advanced than we once were – why is it even an issue
Coke was asked how the Tigers would react to an openly-gay teammate. He also expressed admiration for Collins' decision to make such a statement about his personal life.
If there is a guy in here that his preference was other … than you know … so what, he goes out there and does his job that’s all that matters – we are all family here. You’ve got to have some serious … fortitude to do be able to do that and under the possibility of mass scrutiny – he’s standing up for himself as well as … the community … you’ve got to have respect for that
Collins' announcement has been met with a wide array of opinions. Even those beyond the realm of sports have commented on Collins' lifestyle, which is featured in the May 6 issues of Sports Illustrated.
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