Gay NBA player Jason Collins will donate proceeds from jersey sales to charity
The NBA is to donate all proceeds from the sale of Brooklyn Nets jerseys that once belonged to Jason Collins to two gay rights groups.
Collins became the first openly gay, active male athlete in one of the four major North American professional team sports Sunday, when he signed as a free agent with his original team, the Nets.
His jersey has quickly risen to the number one spot on the top-selling jersey list at NBAStore.com.
Collins chose to wear the number “98” in honor of Matthew Shepard, a college student who was murdered in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime.
Collins met with Shepard’s parents and brother in Denver after the Nets played the Nuggets there on Thursday night.
The NBA said it would give the proceeds of the Collins jersey sales — to exceed $100,000 — to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
In addition, the league will auction off Collins’ autographed, game-worn jerseys to benefit the same organizations.
“I’m thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations,” Collins said, praising their work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Collins, 35, was a free agent when he announced at the end of last season that he is gay. He remained unsigned until the Nets inked him to a 10-day contract Sunday.
The team can sign him to a second, consecutive 10-day contract before deciding if they want to keep him for the rest of the season.
[Image via Brooklyn Nets Facebook page]