ABC Salutes Gay Basketball Player as a 'True Pioneer' Who Is Just Like 'Jackie Robinson'
Good Morning America on Tuesday hailed the announcement that Jason Collins is gay. News reader Josh Elliott compared the Washington Wizards basketball player to Jackie Robinson,the first African American baseball player and someone who faced actual violence. GMA devoted 12 minutes to promoting and celebrating Collins. George Stephanopoulos trumpeted, "This morning, one-on-one with a true pioneer. NBA player Jason Collins tells the world he's gay.' [MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Robin Roberts touted Collins as "a man who has broken barriers." Gay rights activist/news anchor Josh Elliott compared, "But it's been sports figures like Jackie Robinson who have so often led society, Jason Collins taking on a first step for so many to come." Of course, Robinson faced outright hate and threats of violence. Collins received a call from the President and two fawning segments on ABC.
Stephanopoulos did nothing but cheerlead for Collins, wondering, "So you send this thunderbolt out into the world...Twelve hours later, how does it feel?"
He continued, "Can you believe it hasn't happened before you?" On the issue of promoting gay rights on GMA, there was no debate. Elliott declared the news "a wonderful thing."
Meanwhile, ABC still hasn't covered the Gosnell abortion case. Apparently pushing gay rights is a priority, but covering several dead babies in Philadelphia is not.
A partial transcript of the April 30 segments are below.
ABC Graphic: This morning, one-on-one with a true pioneer. NBA player Jason Collins tells the world he's gay. The first active pro player to come out, sending shockwaves through all of sports and getting back an outpouring of emotion and support. Our ABC News exclusive.
JASON COLLINS: When you finally get to that point of acceptance, there's nothing more beautiful.
ROBIN ROBERTS: A big morning here, George is in Los Angeles with his exclusive with Jason collins, a man who has broken barriers.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, that announcement from Jason Collins, that surprise yesterday just shattered stereotypes in the macho world of pro sports. When he went online and in Sports Illustrated Monday morning you could feel the explosion everywhere. You know, the 12-year NBA veteran told me this was not the kind of spotlight he sought but now that he's made the announcement he says he's never been happier. The President called him immediately to offer support. I flew out here, met with him last night. It was an emotional, revealing interview. He's been a Celtic, a Net, a Hawk, a Grizzly, a Timber Wolf and a Wizard, a 7 foot, 255-pound bruiser who spent 12 years in the NBA fighting his way through 90 playoff game including back-to-back finals with the Nets. Tough, respected, a true team player, but never a household name like Kobe, Shaq, LeBron until now. Jason Collins is making history with these simple words, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." And all the emotions stirred up by his announcement were catching up with Collins when I sat down with him in Los Angeles. You always knew you were gay?
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you send this thunderbolt out into the world. 12 hours later, how does it feel?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you believe it hasn't happened before you?
ROBIN ROBERTS: But the way he has handled himself thus far just so incredibly impressive. And I know you'll have more with Jason in our next hour. Thanks very much, George. And I was really struck overnight. Jason Collins sent out a tweet and it said "all the support I have received today is actual truly inspirational. I knew I was choosing the road less traveled but I'm not walking it alone" And you think of a young gay athlete waking up this morning and realizing they, too, are not alone.
JOSH ELLIOTT: Just like a generation ago, sports so often a reflection of society. But it's been sports figures like Jackie Robinson who have so often led society, Jason Collins taking on a first step for so many to come.
ROBERTS: He is.
ELLIOTT: A wonderful thing.
ELLIOTT: Of course, coming up here, the story of the trailblazer making so many headlines.
-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.