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. jjh

    The Clintons support him........Great, I guess. Professional athlete coming-out = story. That his has the support of the clintons (none in public office) = not a story.

    April 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. kenny of salt

    @dwight
    Interesting, I haven't seen that study. Can you provide a citation or link?
    Peace
    Kenny

    April 29, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    I hope everyone that keeps mentioning religion is living their lives according to the entire Bible and not just the parts that you like. God said no sin is greater than another. You're being hypocritical and judgmental. This is why I don't worry about hell, hopefully there won't be any room for me, because it should be overrun by the so called Christians.

    April 29, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. stephen mccullough

    I just don't see what difference it makes what I do behind closed doors,,I don't care what straight people do behind closed doors....It seems if its not the way they believe then its wrong....I say mind your own business....

    April 29, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. jzaks

    Well my goodness. If the Clinton's are happy about all this, I guess the world should be too.

    April 29, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Being gay is not a "choice." You know what is though? Being a bigot. THAT is a choice.

    April 29, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. wildman

    The world is looking a lot like Sodom And Gomorrah to me.

    April 29, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Jason B

    Will the Clintons just go away?

    April 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. wildman

    Being gay is a choice. No one is forcing them to sin.

    April 29, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Jason B

    To the lying filthy disgusting Clinton family, ALL OF THEM, just go away. And to CNN for censoring posts that said nothing wrong, nice to see you so busy silencing free speech again.

    April 29, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. mary

    Well.. After all the radiation we have spewed into the air, water and food.. And knowing it alters the DNA Its really no wonder many more are gay.. It surely is not meant to be..
    If it were they would have children together.. Just like a man and a woman does.
    But lets see how it turns out in a few years after fukushima steeps the whole planet it a witches brew of radioactive isotopes..Maybe we won't even appear human anymore?? If we are still here at all.

    April 29, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. GM

    who are the Clintons? Starting from the Father "Bill"............oh boy

    April 29, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Ed1

    Don't even know who this player is anyway must be a Democrat they are the people who want to make a big deal about being gay who cares.

    This is news worthy how and even why.

    April 29, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. sammy

    we have more important issues to be discussed with the President other than the issue of being gay or not. people should keep that as their private life we do not care less

    April 29, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. mary

    @Wake up People!
    Hey for those that know they are doing wrong and insist on doing it anyway.. You bet... It doesn't matter what religion you are.. you are being willful and the punishment according to the bible is to never get to live past this one existence..
    So go ahead and trade off a few short years of living in whatever state of sin you choose.
    The reward for a life well lived in this world that was wrecked by the original sin.. Was to get the opportunity to live a life as we were meant to live ..
    Its a choice. And everyone is truly free to make it..
    As for "hell" you are wrong. Hell is death.. Period.. An end to you.. You will be no more..Gone..
    Trading the 70 or so years we have now for many more or possibly eternity just for a little worldly pleasure.. Is about as excusable as robbing a bank and getting to play with the money for a day or so. Then spend the next 25 years in jail..
    Its kind of stupid..
    BUT..Yes some make that choice.. Many are choosing the screw up in this life and forfeit a eternal one.
    Stupid?? YOu decide.

    April 29, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. MR

    The link to the Clintons is because the player went to school with Chelsea. They aren't my favorite family but famous people get a story more attention. It's really not that difficult to understand. And good for Jason Collins. A brave, important step.

    April 29, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. nuclear mike

    Hmmmm...did you ever realize Chelsea is to Bill is in the same what George W. is to Geroge Sr...more emerging family royalty American style where they all think we actaully listen & believe their crap...GAY IT UP ALL OF YOU!

    April 29, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    mary

    @Wake up People!
    Hey for those that know they are doing wrong and insist on doing it anyway.. You bet... It doesn't matter what religion you are.. you are being willful and the punishment according to the bible is to never get to live past this one existence..
    So go ahead and trade off a few short years of living in whatever state of sin you choose.
    The reward for a life well lived in this world that was wrecked by the original sin.. Was to get the opportunity to live a life as we were meant to live ..
    Its a choice. And everyone is truly free to make it..
    As for "hell" you are wrong. Hell is death.. Period.. An end to you.. You will be no more..Gone..
    Trading the 70 or so years we have now for many more or possibly eternity just for a little worldly pleasure.. Is about as excusable as robbing a bank and getting to play with the money for a day or so. Then spend the next 25 years in jail..
    Its kind of stupid..
    BUT..Yes some make that choice.. Many are choosing the screw up in this life and forfeit a eternal one.
    Stupid?? YOu decide.
    ------–

    thumper numero uno......what a piece of work. Follow HER rules or else. The American Taliban has a firm hold on some which is unfortunate because they don't know how stupid they make themselves look with drivel like this

    April 29, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. J. Alexander

    Judge not or ye shall be judge

    April 29, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. ronjayaz

    "...a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek: to be able to be who we are...." Hmm. Bill "Bubba" Clinton sed that?! Who's he kidding! He wudnt have to come out if society wasnt so against the concept of "gay." Dont ever remember a straight athlete coming out and saying, "I have a confession. I'm a real straight arrow." The only reason I cud see an athlete coming out. "Lissen, ladies, get off my back. I like guys!"

    April 29, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Rob J

    This is big news but Benghazi is something to be swept under the rug by CNN? Disgusting. Glad that the Clintons approve. Bill is hardly one to talk, Hillary is a liar responsible for American deaths and Chelsea has her $10 million NYC apartment for doing what exactly? This country is going down the tubes fast holding up the Clintons the way it does. Who cares what the Clintons think?

    April 29, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Lance Bowser

    That this human player's announcement is newsworthy is sad to hear at this late date. To anybody who cares about any of this I can only quip: get a life!

    April 29, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Sandra LeVin

    Who cares? Aren't there more important things going on in the world than what a highly paid basketball player does in the bedroom??

    April 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. tb63

    To those of you asking who cares: it may turn out to be you. If you have kids, you stand a chance of one of them being gay. Just sayin'.

    Your kid may have some hope for his or her own future thanks to people like Jason.

    April 29, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Steve

    Seriously, what's the big deal? I guess I should go out and exclaim to the world that I'm straight...

    April 29, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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