Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, deputy leader of the City Council, released a statement upon the Brooklyn Nets’ signing of Jason Collins to their roster. Collins is the first openly gay active player in North America’s four recognized team sports, according to ESPN. 

“Yesterday, millions of people around the world witnessed the first openly gay NBA player get signed, suit up and take to the floor to compete,” Williams said in the statement. “Jason Collins’ signing to the Brooklyn Nets represents yet another step in the long road to equal opportunity and justice for those who have been historically discriminated against.

“Irrespective of one’s beliefs, discrimination should not be accepted, both morally and constitutionally. History has taught us that it’s hard to hate in neat boxes. Bigotry has never led to anything good, from the Stonewall riots to the senseless death of Mark Carson. As I witness what is happening in Arizona, it is obvious America continues to grapple with that premise. The Constitution that we all uphold guarantees the rights of all, and when ‘except’ is added, this statement is weakened. And certainly all should be able to use their God-given talents, whether in the NBA, NFL or in any area of life.

“This simple, 10-day sports contract will be remembered as a benchmark in American sports. Once again, Brooklyn is leading the way in breaking down these bigotry barriers. My congratulations to the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA and, most importantly, Jason Collins, in helping move this conversation forward.”