How Do You Spell Hypocrisy? Warriors’ Head Coach M-a-r-k J-a-c-k-s-o-n

As newly openly gay free-agent center Jason Collins seeks an NBA contract for next season, don’t expect him to land with the Golden State Warriors, despite the fact that the franchise would be an obvious fit: the team boasts an openly gay president, Rick Welts, and plays in that bastion of gay equality, the San Francisco Bay Area.

That’s because Warrior head coach, Mark Jackson, who happens to be a minister in his spare time, took the Collins courageous act as an opportunity to, well, preach a right-wing version of the gospel:

As a Christian man, I serve a God that gives you free will to be whomever you want to be. As a Christian man, I have beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong. That being said, I know Jason Collins. I know his family. I’m certainly praying for them at this time.

Contrast the condescension of these remarks with the outpouring of support Collins received from fellow athletes and coaches. His former Stanford coach, Mike Montgomery (who once coached the Warriors as well), put it this way:

Jason Collins is an exceptional person who put a great deal of thought into this decision. This took a lot of courage, and I support him, along with his family and his former teammates who have nothing but respect for him. He is a tremendous player and a smart, fierce competitor. Jason is a guy you want to have on your side.

Jackson’s words represent the garden variety homophobia often espoused by unthinking preachers who conflate the American antigay political movement with Biblical values, which are primarily about “tolerance and understanding,” as Collins put it. But coming from Jackson, it strains credulity.

In 2006, Jackson, who is married with four children, was the target of an unusual extortion threat. A female stripper with whom Jackson was having an extramarital affair took explicit photos of Jackson. After paying the stripper and an accomplice thousands of dollars to keep quiet, he eventually went to the FBI, which pursued criminal charges against the extortionists. (Jackson is one celebrity whose nude pics we would rather not see.)

Considered one of the all-time great point guards, Jackson eventually apologized for the episode, and was fortunate to be hired first as an ESPN basketball analyst and then as Warriors head coach. Jackson is credited with leading the team to the playoffs, where it is facing the Denver Nuggets. (The Nuggets’ forward Kenneth Faried, raised by his biological mother and her female partner, tweeted his support of Collins.)

To his credit Jackson also said that he would be happy to have Collins on his team if he’s “got game.” But the dozens of gay team sports athletes still playing in a dark, lonely place, deserve far better than that. The need assurance that they will be judged only for the the quality of their “game,” and not the prejudices of their fellow players and coaches.

The Warriors, who play in Oakland, are planning to build a basketball arena in San Francisco, a glass and steel cathedral of hoops in the shadows of the Bay Bridge next to the bay. Let’s hope that if he’s still around, Jackson finds a place his his heart, and on the floor, for gay ballplayers.

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  • niles

    Just another “Christian” pompous ass spouting off about stuff he knows nothing about. His precious Jesus didn’t say squat about homosexuality.

  • DarthKitsune

    this man needs to go away before he embarrasses himself any further and damages the gay-friendly image the team projects.

  • MK Ultra

    Do you guys ever notice that those who use the condescending phrase, “I’ll pray for you” are the ones who themselves need “prayers”? (Prayer being a euphamism for some kind of counseling or psychiatric intervention)

  • TinoTurner

    I realize this is a blanket statement but its sad that the backlash against Collins and just equality is met with so much resistance/anger from the black community. They’re always hiding behind this person they keep calling “jesus”…..I dont know who jesus is but he sounds pretty awful.

  • tlbrown20050

    bigotry wrapped in religion is still BIGOTRY

  • Caliban

    Ironic isn’t it? The “born again” are almost always the people you regret being born the first time.

  • Kieran

    There are plenty of “good Christian” people who wouldn’t want Mark Jackson as a neighbor or member of their church because of the skin pigmentation he was born with. But they’ll still pray for him ; )

  • tardis

    I’m on my knees, praying for Mark Jackson. Self-righteous is a severe sin, more so than homosexuality. I’ll quiet down and pray…

  • erikwm

    For the love of God!

    Considering sexual orientation as a physiological concept wasn’t understood until approximately 100 years ago, the Bible has no relevant opinion on it.

    It would be like looking to the Bible for information on how the solar system works. Hundreds of years ago people did that — and lets just say, it didn’t turn out well. Unfortunately, it appears the lesson wasn’t learned.


  • 2eo

    @erikwm: The bible is a poorly written joke of a fictional tome. The fact some people still wish to force this drivel on good people is proof that it can be treat as a disease of the brain.

  • Harley

    The bible is the most comprehensive documentation of extraterrestrial visitation in our ancient past. The primitive population of the earth more than 2000 years ago THOUGHT the were seeing the divine incarnations of gods but, no, just aliens with advanced technology. Sorry folks. Read more science and less fiction. Amen.

  • ted72

    @tlbrown20050: Very well said…

  • ted72

    @erikwm: Thank you! Although, I know a lot of Christians who feel and act as though the Bible is of “science.”

    Creationism vs. Evolution.

  • Tackle

    @Tino Turner: Not only is your statement blanket but it’s also foolish. I guess In your mind Ron Jackson speaks for a whole group of people?? What about the support Collins received from Kobe Bryant, Spike Lee, DL Hughley and a host of other Black celebrties.

    And you speak of resistance/anger from the Black community. Really? Have you spoken to,
    taken a poll or conducted a survey of the over 40 million American Blacks to know this?
    I’m willing to bet that the majority of Blacks don’t even know who Jason Collins is and could care less about him coming out. What they probably care more about is jobs/going to work. Taking care of family and paying bills.
    And by your statement you seem to believe that Blacks are the only ones who believe in Jesus and hide behind him. That’s not a Black, White, Yellow or Brown thing. That’s a religious thing.

  • curan

    Jesus does actually have something very specific to say about “same-sex love.”

    Essentially, what he says is that “it’s none of your business.”

    People who call themselves Christians are always shocked and disquieted when confronted with these verses. They are easily found at the end of the Gospel of John.


    John 21:20

    Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

    Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

    This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

    Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

  • Cam

    Funny how there is nothing in the 10 commandments about being gay but there IS something about adultery and this guy had NO problem completely ignoring his religion when it suited him.

    Time for fans there to stop going to games while this bigot is on the payroll.

  • Bill B

    Mark Jackson made a clumsy comment… and I can see how it appears to be condescending. But…it wasn’t mean spirited… wasn’t honest about what he believes about homosexuality. He actually supported Jason’s right to be gay.

    He didn’t attack Jason Collins. He didn’t call him names or say he should be denied a place in the NBA or anywhere else.

    Because of that he is branded a “homophobe” because his faith he follows doesn’t support the gay lifestyle. From what I read…He is neither a hypocrite nor someone who hates and/or is afraid of gays.

    Do we now live in a place where everyone has to agree with everything everyone else says or does? And if we don’t… they should be attacked and called names?

    Freedom has to be our clarion call. Free for him to be him… and you to be you.

    I would say to those making comments attacking Mark Jackson about intolerance… Pot, meet kettle.

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