Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was asked his reaction to journeyman center Jason Collins' coming out on Monday as the first openly gay active player in the NBA, and understandably Mattingly chose a comparison close to home.
"It seems a little bit like a Jackie Robinson type thing to me. He's kind of crossing some barriers," Mattingly said. "It will be interesting to follow to see what happens."
Collins revealed he is gay in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, and while he will likely never face the sheer volume of vile hatred that Robinson received as the first black player in Major League Baseball, the comparison still fits, even if loosely.
Collins will surely see some backlash from teammates and fans. To what degree remains to be seen, but as the first active player to jump into that unknown firestorm Collins deserves credit.
Mattingly was asked how his Dodgers clubhouse would react if one of his players revealed he was gay.
"I don't know. I think it would be okay. The first time it happens, you're kind of in uncharted waters," Mattingly said. "I would think, a lot like Jackie, (Collins) made it easier for anyone else who wants to step forward."