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Jarron Collins helps GLAAD honor Rick Welts at the #glaadgala

Jarron Collins helps GLAAD honor Rick Welts at the #glaadgala

thanks Taryn thank you very much that truly is an honor and a privilege to be here tonight this event really hits home with me as some of you know or may may or may not know I am NOT Jason Collins I just look an awful lot like him of course Jason is my twin brother who made a little news a year ago when he became the first openly gay active player in the four major professional sports in America since his announcement our family has had some unique experiences we had the pleasure of getting a little couch time with Oprah an additional benefit for myself I got to be my brother's plus-one at the White House when he attended the State of the Union address it's pretty cool thanks Jase in all seriousness on behalf of everyone with the Warriors the NBA and all of the players and coaches in professional sports who support equality on and off the court I'd like to thank glad for all of the tremendous work they've done to advocate educate and share the stories of LGBT athletes like my brother tonight I'm here to talk about a game-changing player behind the scenes in professional sports this gentleman has not scored any points or grabbed any rebounds in the NBA but he's had an incredible impact in the success of our league for over four decades this past year his leadership enabled the Warriors to earn professional sports team of the Year award from the Sports Business Journal he of course would be my friend and co-worker and boss's boss the president and CEO of the Golden State Warriors Rick welts coming up right got a couple more words for you but please do come on up Rick to put it mildly you've become a true you are a true pioneer my brother has mentioned became the very first active professional athlete to come out last year with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets you can probably imagine how extremely proud our entire family was of Jason for his courage and vision likewise a few months ago Michael Sam came out and had the opportunity to play for the st. Louis Rams in the preseason and he's continued his NFL dream with the Dallas Cowboys however it was Rick welts who set the trend for active personnel to come out in sports he was the one to take the leap of faith three years ago with a front-page story in The New York Times he was the one to tell everyone that hey it's okay to be who you are in your career including in professional sports and because of this man the landscape and professional sports has changed we still have a lot of work to do in both professional sports and society in general but we are making tremendous progress we are so much further ahead of the game today than we were on May 15 2011 the day you came out Rick I sure my brother's sentiment when he calls you quote a true inspiration a man with the utmost character and impeccable reputation glads Davidson Valenti award is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community tonight among these San Francisco heroes I'm proud to present it to a much deserving honoree Ric waltz please thank you so much so I just want to recap let me let me see you have to stay up there let me see if I got this right so former NBA player who's currently an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors just oh and by the way happens to be the twin brother of Jason Collins just introduced an openly gay president of a major league sports franchise well things have changed in the last three hours everything so he's a very good sport you spend his whole evening tonight saying no I'm not Jason alright but I did I did talk to your brother yesterday and I wanted to share just a couple of things about this guy who's up on the stage because you know a lot about his brother now you don't have the mic anymore so you can't dispute what your brother said about you but according to your brother Jason he went first of all wants to point out he's the older brother by eight minutes he believes that he's always been a little bit taller and a little bit stronger than his little brother and in that role when you were both on the court he really considered himself the defender really the enforcer when you guys were on the court now things changed the day that Jason came to Jaron to tell him he was gay by the way he must have the worst gaydar in the world right okay when that day happened their roles completely reversed according to brother from that time when Jason told Jaron he was gay to the point in time where he came out publicly to all of us you became the protector you were there with him every step of the way and he speaks with it with such pride and talks about you is the ultimate straight a lie that's so important to everyone in this room so thank you for being here thank you for being so my my journey was a little longer than Jason's it was about three and a half years ago I was having dinner on the Upper East Side in New York with I'd asked a friend to join me who ran a PR firm in New York I needed to ask him a question I made a decision about what I wanted to do but I didn't know how I wanted to go about doing it I told him what I wanted to do I could come out to my co-workers people I've worked with my whole career but I needed to ask him was this a big enough story that if I did it in a much more public way could it have an impact and he looked across the table and me and said Rick if you'll do this I think it's page a1 of the New York Times that was kind of my aha moment and as the evening progressed I think by the end of the evening I decided that if I did tell my story and a story in a much more public way out and if I could help just one young person believe that they could pursue their passion in life and succeed because of who they are rather than in spite of who they are then whatever came my way would have been worthwhile no one really could have imagined we've seen it tonight what's unfolded in our country over the past three years and even in the sports industry Robbie Rogers Jason Collins Brittney Griner Michael Sam as each one came out and told their own compelling personal story they added to the quality and the depth of the conversation about homophobia and professional sports much has been accomplished but much is left to be done not just at the professional level but in our colleges and in our high schools acceptance starts early I want to acknowledge my partner Todd gage who's here tonight with me I'm not quite sure he knew what he was signing up for when we went on this journey but thank you I want to acknowledge my co-workers at the Warriors and my friends that are here tonight and I want to say thanks to glad for the work you do every day and working with individuals and organizations to bring understanding and equality to the world of sports and thanks for this wonderful recognition tonight go glad go warriors thank you

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