MSNBC's Hayes Marks 'Real Milestone' of Jason Collins Coming Out

On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes celebrated the coming out of gay NBA player Jason Collins as he tagged the development as a "real milestone," a "watershed moment," "something momentous," and "big, big news." He later hosted a panel that included liberal gay activist Dan Savage, known for trying to spread the flu to a GOP presidential candidate headquarters in 2000, and with aggressively trying to slander former Senator Rick Santorum for his criticism of homosexuality.

Hayes teased the show:

There is a lot to talk about tonight, including the news that the first male athlete in a major American professional sport came out of the closet today, a real milestone. We'll talk to Dan Savage about that.

He then teased during a commercial break:

Author and activist Dan Savage joins me with his thoughts on the watershed moment today for gay equality. An active NBA player comes out of the closet.

As he introduced the segment at about 8:44 p.m., he began:

All right, big, big news today. Something momentous happened today, I think, a lot of us have been waiting for with anticipation. A real turning point and a signature moment in the continued struggle for equal rights for LGBT folks. Today, NBA player Jason Collins became the first active athlete in a major American team sport to publicly announce he is gay.

He continued: "Finally, the active big four American sports -- baseball, hockey, basketball and football -- has broken this barrier."

In the last segment of the show which included Savage, the liberal columnist suggested that heterosexual men are "pansies" if they are opposed to showering with homosexual men:

I think this, ultimately this comes down to is who straight people are. This isn't about whether Jason Collins or other athletes who happen to be gay are pansies, it's about whether heterosexual men and heterosexual pro-athletes in locker rooms are pansies. If they're afraid of gay men, if they're jumping up on chairs and shrieking, and too terrified to shower in the same conditions that Marines and sailors and airmen, showering.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, April 29, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC:

CHRIS HAYES: Good evening from New York. I'm Chris Hayes, and thank you for joining us. There is a lot to talk about tonight, including the news that the first male athlete in a major American professional sport came out of the closet today, a real milestone. We'll talk to Dan Savage about that.

(...)

HAYES, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:18 P.M.: Author and activist Dan Savage joins me with his thoughts on the watershed moment today for gay equality. An active NBA player comes out of the closet.

(...)

HAYES, AT 8:44 P.M.:

All right, big, big news today. Something momentous happened today, I think, a lot of us have been waiting for with anticipation. A real turning point and a signature moment in the continued struggle for equal rights for LGBT folks. Today, NBA player Jason Collins became the first active athlete in a major American team sport to publicly announce he is gay.

Finally, the active big four American sports -- baseball, hockey, basketball and football -- has broken this barrier. There have been other active professional athletes to come out. They just didn't play team sports, or, if they did, they weren't American. Last October, for example, pro-boxer Orlando Cruz came out before a big fight...

(...)

It should not be a big deal for a male professional athlete in a team sport in 2013 to publicly announce that he is gay. And the fact that it still is might say a lot about the culture of the average American sports fan. Don't go away. We're going to talk about this with Dan Savage, Bill Rhoden of the New York Times, and Coach Hudson Taylor, next.

(...)

DAN SAVAGE, COLUMNIST: What this debate ultimately comes down to is not who gay people are and where gay people are. You know, we are who we are, and we are everywhere. If there's no openly gay people in whatever environment you're in or whatever environment you're talking about, that doesn't mean there's no gay people, just no openly gay people.

I think this, ultimately this comes down to is who straight people are. This isn't about whether Jason Collins or other athletes who happen to be gay are pansies, it's about whether heterosexual men and heterosexual pro-athletes in locker rooms are pansies. If they're afraid of gay men, if they're jumping up on chairs and shrieking, and too terrified to shower in the same conditions that Marines and sailors and airmen, showering.

You know, I think that's what's really the irony here, is not, this isn't about who gay people are, this is about who straight people are. And are straight people better than they've been billed? Are straight people less bigoted than they've convinced themselves that they are? And I think they are less bigoted, as we saw in the military, after the DADT repeal, and a lot of LGBT soldiers came out and it was a non-issue, and they were accepted by their peers that they were serving with, and I think we're going to see the same thing in elite pro male sports because straight people are better than that. They're better than the bigots give them credit for.