The world of sports has been rapidly changing over the last few months as more professional athletes, both active and inactive have ‘come out of the closet.’ Nike, in an effort to reflect the acceptance of the LGBT community is launching its new LGBT-themed “Be True” sportswear line.
Nike originally launched the “Be True” line in limited edition format last year in gay-friendly cities around the nation, such as, Los Angeles, New York City and Portland. But now, according to Esquire, the sportswear titan is expanding the rainbow-hued line online, with proceeds from the sales to the LGBT Sports Coalition, a non-profit that works toward ending discrimination in all sports.
But like any major collection, the line needs a spokesperson to sell it to the masses. Nike may have just found a spokesman in Jason Collins, who became the first male U.S. athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay in April.
Collins was recently photographed wearing a “Be True” t-shirt at Boston Pride and has also been spotted wearing the shoes and other t-shirts from the collection as well. Nike previously stated that they want be the brand to endorse LGBT athletes in professional sports and Collins had already been linked to the sportswear giant.
According to OUT, a Nike spokesperson recently confirmed that, “Jason is a Nike athlete. We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion.”
It’s ironic that, for decades, athletes remained in the closet to avoid scrutiny and have a chance at landing a coveted endorsement deal. Now, Collins and Nike are proving that LGBT athletes can sell products to the masses and do it with the same style, grace and cool as their straight counterparts.
Thankfully, Collins isn’t changing the face of LGBT sports by himself. Check out some other LGBT athletes who have landed endorsement deals below. – nicholas robinson