Obama welcomes announcement from Jason Collins
April 29th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama welcomes announcement from Jason Collins

(CNN) - NBA center Jason Collins' Monday essay in "Sports Illustrated" revealing he's gay was met with praise from President Barack Obama and the first lady.

The president called Collins "to express his support and said he was impressed by his courage," a White House official told CNN.

First lady Michelle Obama also showed her support for Collins on Twitter.

Asked earlier in the day if the White House had a comment, Press Secretary Jay Carney highlighted Collins' decision as "progress."

"I can certainly tell you that here at the White House we view that as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place in this country and commend him for his courage and support him in his, in this effort and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward," Carney said during the daily press briefing.

Collins also received praise from his classmate at Stanford, Chelsea Clinton.

Her father, former President Bill Clinton, echoed the sentiment in a statement of his own, distributed soon after the article went online.

"I have known Jason Collins since he was Chelsea's classmate and friend at Stanford. Jason's announcement today is an important moment for professional sports and in the history of the LGBT community," Clinton wrote. "It is also the straightforward statement of a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are; to do our work; to build families and to contribute to our communities."

"For so many members of the LGBT community, these simple goals remain elusive. I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned," he continued.

Collins, who played for the Boston Celtics this season before being traded to the Washington Wizards, wrote in his essay that U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, helped prompt his decision to come out as gay. Kennedy and Collins were roommates at Stanford.

Collins recounts hearing about Kennedy – who is not gay - marching in Boston's Gay Pride Parade.

"I'm seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy," he wrote. "I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn't even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I'd been questioned, I would have concocted half truths."

Kennedy wrote in a statement Monday, ""For as long as I've known Jason Collins he has been defined by three things: his passion for the sport he loves, his unwavering integrity, and the biggest heart you will ever find. Without question or hesitation, he gives everything he's got to those of us lucky enough to be in his life. I'm proud to stand with him today and proud to call him a friend."

CNN's Mark Preston, Jake Tapper, Brianna Keilar and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Chelsea Clinton
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. goingsearching

    when will the Clintons come out of the closet?

    April 29, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. john

    I don't condone homosexuality, but as a friend of mine who is a retired Marine colonel told me recently, "I think these people are hard wired at birth.".

    In other words, it's not about choice, it's just your God given orientation.

    So let us now move on to international affairs.

    April 29, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. BeMerciful

    Dear Anonymous, you will never understand this until your own kid struggles over his sexual orientation and perhaps take his own life.

    April 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    While this is a nice story.... I don't see why it is in the Political section. Simply because he and Chelsea were friends and the Clintons liked him. Shouldn't this be under Sports??

    Oh my bad, you wouldn't get half as many Clinton bashers as you do here.....

    April 29, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. nhguy

    heck, i want to know when hillary is coming out....

    April 29, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Matt

    Good for Collins and the USA! Sadly the WH also tried to tag him as a gay "marriage" supporter. Collins himself has never said that he is. A lot of gays are up for complete equality but not the religious intrusion of calling it marriage.

    April 29, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. John Salisbury

    Good for Jason and like the Clintons and Joe Kennedy, I am happy for him. He is a well-liked person and has great intregity. As for all the bigots on here, they are bound for Hell for Jesus said none of us are to judge another, that is God's work. It seems to me that as we progress as a nation, we take a step backward with the narrow thinking of bigots who want to tell others how to live. You all, and you know which I ones I am talking to, can go to Hell. We progresives will continue to respect everyone's rights in this country, even yours, you bigots. Most of you are nothing but stupid Bible Thumpers who know nothing about the Christian Bible and what Jesus said when he came to save us. Love one another means for God's sake to be tolerant on one another and to understand that your values are no more perfect than the rest of us.
    Good luck to Jason; we love you buddy and I am so proud of you. You have set the bar for others in athletics who have been afraid to come out of the closet. God love you buddy. The hell with the bigots on here; most of them on here who are such bigots don't even know for the most part how to understand the Bible. Yes, it is my right to call you bigots, stupid, right wing dingbats who believe Sarah Palen is a saint. You all are sooooooo stupid, yup, my right of free speech.

    April 29, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Kerry

    Jason i am so proud of you. Good luck. Live your life bruh!

    April 29, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Brian

    I'm glad this guy was confident enough in himself and what he does to come out. The fact that people still need to hide a part of who they are in what is supposed to be "the greatest country in the world" is kind of sad really. Just this one little thing that really only matters to who they're sleeping with can play such a pivotal role in how others perceive you. If anything, guys should like us gay fellas more. It means more ladies for them.
    Cheers.

    April 29, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. dwight

    Sports is just another aspect of the entertainment industry, but a little manlier or used to be. Was he hired becaue he was gay or a good player? If because he was a good player, then his sexual orientation makes no difference, but now he has put himslef in the limelight for his oreintation and not his skill. Soon people are going to start coming out as bisexual or maybe they have and it doesn't get the press. It is all a show.

    April 29, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. dwight

    Does he have a twin brother and is he gay too? IF it is genetics then he must be too. Sadly for those who believe that they are born that way the studies done on twins showed no genetic correlation and actually proves choice.

    April 29, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. FISH FRY

    Hilary already working the gay vote.

    April 29, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Michel, Chapel Hill

    When is Hillary coming out of the closet.

    April 29, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Randy Descombaz

    Read On John!

    April 29, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Hilary already working the gay vote."

    What makes you think she even needs to? Right wing nutjobbery and bigotry towards the gay community comes close to just doing her job for her. She can almost just sit back and let the bigots send the gay vote her way.

    April 29, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "the religious intrusion of calling it marriage."

    YOU have two choices;

    1. Insist that "marriage" is solely the province of religious institutions....in which case, no laws can be made about it and our laws should nto be recognizing it whatsoever or

    2. Admit that when a law says "marriage," there is absolutely no...none, zero, zilch, zip, nada...religious meaning to the use of the word and it cannot be interpreted as having any...such that the alw does not run afoul of the separation of church and state.

    Enjoy our First Amendment.

    April 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    good for him. And to the haters............hahahahahahaha. Your backwards thinking is making you extinct

    April 29, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Jason

    These are same Clinton's who signed into law – The Defense of Marriage Act .. And don't tell me that the President had to sign it. He could of did a big VETO ...

    April 29, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Bessy

    Why are all the MALE bigots that post on this site so afraid of the gays ?
    Good for Mr. Collins. He does not have to answer to anyone on this earth. End of story.

    April 29, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Does he have a twin brother and is he gay too? IF it is genetics then he must be too. Sadly for those who believe that they are born that way the studies done on twins showed no genetic correlation and actually proves choice."

    It doesn't prove choice. There are myrad ways in which human behavior can be hard-coded without it being in your genes. It coud be a predisposition in the genes that requires environmental factors to trigger it, such as the balance of hormones the fetus is exposed to while in the womb...somethign that could very well be imbalanced for one twin whle not for the other. You people who live in black and white worlds where everything is either-or absolutes, such that everything is super easy for you because it doesn't require any research or education in order to understand the nuances of an issue...because there simply are no such things as nuances in your world...well, it's just sad. You're sad. Get that? S.A.D.

    April 29, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    My goodness, with all of these anti gay comments coming from the guys, it kind of makes you wonder......

    Come on out guys, we won't judge you......

    April 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Name Uche Agonsi

    Am speechless. I can't understand the meaning of this. It has crossed my red line ......moreso, coming from the people i adore most in the world. I guess it has made our journey to hell shorter.

    April 29, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    This is evil in the sight of the Lord

    April 29, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. Peoples State of Illinois

    @The Real Tom Paine

    Peoples State of Illinois

    So much for sports anymore. All this pushing of the gay agenda, articles everywhere you look, is making me prejudice against gays. I used to not care one way or the other, but now I'm getting sick of it.
    ***************
    I doubt the so-called " gay agenda" was the reason for this sad, deluded individual's hatred of his/her fellow man. Being treated with respect is an agenda?
    ------
    "....sad, deluded individual...." Having read many of your posts on here, pot meet kettle.

    April 29, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. SuperD

    Collins needs to understand something, by doing this, he's got to understand that in some corners, he's just crapped where he eats. He'd be better served shutting his mouth and playing basketball.

    Notice he didn't have the guts to do this during the season.....think about that....

    Don't call him brave, call him probably stupid, I bet he loses millions of dollars with this stunt.

    April 29, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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