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Obama reaches out to Jason Collins, says he’s impressed by his courage

Monday, April 29, 2013

WASHINGTON — A groundbreaking pronouncement from NBA veteran Jason Collins – “I’m gay” – reverberated Monday through Washington, generating accolades from lawmakers on Twitter and a supportive phone call from President Barack Obama.

Hours after Collins disclosed his sexuality in an online article, Obama reached out by phone, expressing his support and telling Collins he was impressed by his courage, the White House said.

Jason Collins Kwaku Alston, Sports Illustrated

Collins, 34, becomes the first active player in one of four major U.S. professional sports leagues to come out as gay. He has played for six teams in 12 seasons, including this past season with the Washington Wizards, and is now a free agent.

Collins’ declaration in a first-person account posted on Sports Illustrated’s website garnered particular attention from Democrats, many of whom have recently announced their support for gay marriage despite opposing it in the past. Obama announced his support last year during his re-election campaign.

Organizing for Action, a grassroots group run by Obama loyalists that grew out of his 2012 re-election campaign, offered its support for Collins as well, writing to Collins on Twitter on Monday that the group’s supporters “stand with you today.”

And first lady Michelle Obama chimed in on Twitter on Monday afternoon to applaud Collins.

“So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back!” the tweet read. It was signed “mo” – signifying that the first lady personally wrote the message.

Former President Bill Clinton also voiced encouragement, releasing a statement that asks fans, NBA colleagues and the media to support and respect him. Clinton said he has known Collins since he attended Stanford University with his daughter Chelsea.

Clinton said Collins’ announcement Monday is an “important moment” for professional sports and the history of the LGBT community.

Chelsea Clinton also tweeted her support for Collins Monday, saying she was proud of her friend for having the strength and courage to be the first openly gay player in the NBA..

The NBA player also received support from Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., his college roommate. Kennedy tweeted Monday that “I’ve always been proud to call (Collins) a friend, and I’m even prouder to stand with him today.”

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15 more reader comments:

  1. Good for you to rise above your fears and be a role model for the people whom are struggling to come out of the closet! :)

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 4:40pm
  2. I am as well! Now that is one REAL man!! Awesome!!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 4:45pm
  3. Awesome!! :)

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 4:46pm
  4. Fuck OBAMA the Terrorist! He doesn’t like any AMERICAN Homosexual or Heterosexual.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:03pm
  5. That is good!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:09pm
  6. lol

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:09pm
  7. As a big, muscular, successful, BLACK & GAY MAN, I am enthused about the light years of progress we have made toward equality in a matter of months. Our first professional active mens athlete Jason Collins of the NBA came out today. People have been paving the road for decades to make this happen and now Jason is carrying the torch for others to live a free life, a life where one is judged by their character and not by their religion, skin color, or sexual orientation. Congratulations Jason for having the courage to choose freedom for the first time in your life. Wear it not as a burden but as a badge of hope change and equality. And one day may every one be free not only in their mind but also in the very same country they are kin.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:18pm
  8. @virginia curry is another crackpot conspiracy theorist.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:18pm
  9. Great job. Finally someone with the balls to be himself in pro sports!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:37pm
  10. Exactly!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 6:28pm
  11. Jason Collins, announces he is gay and is praised. Tim Tebow announces he is a christian, gets insulted and ridiculed………… America has taken a turn for the worst.

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:03pm
  12. So am I!! Awesome! I support you!!

    Posted on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:08pm
  13. Virginia, you eat with that foul mouth! Just another racist hillbilly!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:44am
  14. As a skinny white guy, very successful, I fail to see why our body type has to do with bring gay Taj????

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:51am
  15. People have certain expectations. You expect the feminine girly girl to be straight, just like you expect the metrosexual guy to be gay. That isn’t always the truth. He is working against cultural stereotypes.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 9:02am