LOS ANGELES — Jason Collins, a 35-year-old N.B.A. center who announced last year that he was gay, has signed a 10-day contract Sunday to join the roster of the Nets.
The signing is a significant step in transforming American professional sports into a welcoming environment for gay athletes. No N.B.A. game has ever taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The N.F.L., Major League Baseball and the N.H.L. — which round out the continent’s four traditional major sports leagues — have also never had an publicly gay participant.
The very act of Collins’s suiting up and stepping onto the court, then, would represent a milestone in the effort to change a sports culture that some feel has lagged far behind society at large in acceptance of gay people. Collins was expected be in uniform when the Nets played the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night at the Staples Center.Congratulations to Jason (and the Nets) for breaking this lavender barrier!