NBC 6 South Florida
"For somebody to come out and be that courageous and be that trailblazer, is big,” Channing Crowder said.
The news that the Washington Wizards’ Jason Collins came out as the first active, openly gay athlete in a major American team sport dominated headlines, sports shows and talk radio on a day when there was a ton to talk about.
"You had Tim Tebow getting cut from the Jets this morning. That's no longer the big story,” said Victor Bermudez, producer for 560 WQAM’s “Kup & Crowder Show.” “Dwight Howard getting ejected no longer going to be a part of the Lakers. That's no longer the big story. The Dolphins just wrapped up a huge draft. Huge news, but that's not even the big story.”
Phone lines lit up WQAM about Collins’ historic announcement, which was made in a Sports Illustrated article that he wrote. Former Dolphin linebacker turned radio host Channing Crowder said it’s a huge development.
"For somebody to come out and be that courageous and be that trailblazer, is big,” said Crowder, who played six years in the NFL.
He said he’s not surprised the NBA is where this social barrier was broken. The NFL is just different, and a football player wasn't about to make history like this, Crowder said.
"Someone had the guts to do it. You need someone to attach to. And there's homosexuals in every sport now,” he said. “I've came out and I’ve said a number of times, I know I played with homosexuals, but they didn't tell me.”
The airwaves were drenched with talk of Collins coming out – and social media blew up with them. Collins didn't know how his fellow NBA players would react, saying, "I simply don't know.”
He does now.
Dwayne Wade tweeted: “Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth. #nbafamily”
"Proud of @jasoncollins34,” wrote Kobe Bryant. “Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others #courage #support.”
There were also tweets that weren't so supportive.
"All these beautiful woman in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH…” wrote Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, using an acronym that means “shake my head.”
In another tweet, Wallace said in part that he didn’t understand.
The tweets were quickly deleted and replaced with: "Never said anything was right or wrong. I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended."
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has teamed up with Equality Florida, has been a vocal straight ally for the cause.
"It's so important for professional athletes to speak out in support of gay teammates and gay people everywhere, their voices are so powerful, and we need them, we need more of them," Ayanbadejo said.