Report: Mark Jackson Made Anti-Gay Comments About Warriors President, Jason Collins

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2022

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 4 :  Mark Jackson arrives to the arena prior to Game Three of the Western Conference SemiFinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on May 4, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN The Magazine reportedly declined to run a feature story in 2016 that included several criticisms of former Golden State Warriors head coach and current ESPN analyst Mark Jackson, including alleged anti-gay comments about former NBA player Jason Collins and Warriors president Rick Welts.

Reporter Ethan Strauss, a former Warriors beat writer, detailed the allegations earlier this month, and they were picked up by NBC Sports' Dan Feldman and other outlets on Tuesday:

Ethan Strauss @SherwoodStrauss

On ESPN spiking Mark Jackson stories <a href="https://t.co/PfNTRY9Si4">https://t.co/PfNTRY9Si4</a> <a href="https://t.co/k7CA22oegX">pic.twitter.com/k7CA22oegX</a>

Jackson led Golden State's coaching staff from June 2011 through May 2014.

While the article Strauss referenced was apparently squashed, ESPN's Scoop Jackson wrote about several of the issues related to Jackson's tenure with the Warriors in the immediate aftermath of his firing.

That included the strain created by Jackson's concern with Collins becoming the first openly gay player in NBA history in 2013, which was contrasted by the Warriors front office's support of Collins after Welts became the league's first publicly out executive in 2011.

The article also referenced the "us against the world" mentality that became central to Jackson's approach in leading Golden State, which was on the ascent thanks to the still-active trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Jackson, a former NBA point guard, expressed relief after his time with the Warriors ended:

"I wake up absolutely relieved. Because there are no more unnamed sources that can affect me. I don't have to answer the question that others won't answer. I can speak clearly about who I am and how I can conduct myself. It is unfortunate because everything the unnamed source said—that I was done if I did not get out of the first round, that there was friction, that there was this and there was that—and there claimed to be no unnamed sources. Well, it's come out true."

In 2021, he explained on the Boardroom: Out of Office podcast (via CBS Sports' Brad Botkin) the narrative that surrounded his exit from Golden State combined with suggestions he enforced religious beliefs on his team have so far prevented him from getting another coaching job.

"I'm incredibly blessed to have had that opportunity. Now, when you do things as a believer, that doesn't mean it's always going to work out. And sometimes, you're gonna be used in ways that you don't wanna be used. So did the human side of me think, 'Man, this is messed up. I got fired? How did I get fired when I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and I'm trying to live right, and I'm trying to instill and motivate and inspire and all those things. I got fired?' The human side of me certainly feels some of that. But as you mature as a believer in life, the objective is for the spiritual side to be stronger than the human side. So my spirit man checks my flesh man and says, 'Are you kidding me? It's not about you. It's not about you. It's about a bigger purpose, a bigger call on your life.'"

Jackson has interviewed for head coaching jobs in recent years. He was a finalist for the Sacramento Kings job earlier this offseason before the team opted to hire Mike Brown.

He hasn't commented on the latest allegations made against him.