JetBlue Airways has a message for NBA player Jason Collins: Thanks.
The Washington Wizards' center made headlines on Monday after he became the first professional male athlete actively playing in one of the four major U.S. sports leagues to come out as gay. In the wake of the media frenzy, Collins received support from the likes of President Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and fellow NBA players, to name a few.
On Tuesday, JetBlue posted the following message to Collins on Facebook:
Some people applauded JetBlue for the gesture. "Nice message! Now I know I made an excellent choice flying with JetBlue next month!" wrote one Facebook user. "Love JetBlue! Thank you for standing up for equality!!!" wrote another.
Others were not so happy and accused JetBlue of using Collins as a "cheap marketing ploy," AdAge notes. However, the airline is not working on any sort of deal with Collins. The announcement was made solely because of the company's ideals.
"We salute Collins –- and anyone who is true to themselves –- and we’re proud to fly all the colors of the rainbow on JetBlue," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
JetBlue is not the only company that stood by the 34-year-old this week. Nike also backed Collins, who is represented by the brand.
“Jason is a Nike athlete,” read a statement issued by Nike earlier this week. “We are a company committed to diversity and inclusion.”
The airline corporation and the athletic wear behemoth have both supported equality in the past. In February, JetBlue and Nike were two of nearly 300 businesses that called for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be struck down as unconstitutional. The companies united to send to the Supreme Court a letter saying DOMA is "discriminatory" and forces employers to become the "intrusive inquisitor, imputer of taxable income, and withholder of benefits."