Obama welcomes announcement from Jason Collins
April 29th, 2013
11:54 AM ET
10 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. Sniffit

    Writhe and squirm all ye holier-than-thou religio-fascists! Good for Collins...he proves himself a leader with this, and a brave one at that. The more gay individuals in prominent roles who stop hiding, the quicker it will become the non-issue it should be. Nobody should ever have to hie their identity just to assauge the butthurt of the bigot class.

    April 29, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. DC Johnny

    Good for the Clintons. Their sudden support for this kind of thing should definitely allow us to overlook countless criminal allegations of assault, adultery, perjury, in addition to general incompetence when it comes to events such as letting Bin Laden escape or ignoring and covering up the assassination of Americans in Benghazi.

    I'm sold. I can't wait for another Clinton administration.

    April 29, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. mike electrician

    Good for you Jason!

    April 29, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. eonbluekarma

    For anyone who claims that being homosexual is a sin, who told you this? God? A fictional man in the sky. That our ancestors concocted to comfort us in times of doubt.

    April 29, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. sciarrino

    This is terrific for Collins but politicizing this for team Clinton is ridiculous.

    April 29, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. JRW

    I am always amazed by the rush to stand on the Bible, thumping one's bravado about the perceived interpretations about homosexuality without both the historical context and societal impact of the time. Yet these same individuals, won't otherwise give the Bible a second glance; especially in the face of the how they themselves might be living and or conducting themselves in society, public and private. Just as you have the freedom and latitude to dissect and live the Bible as you see it, so does the very population you feel so compelled to point out their way of life as being what you (not the Bible) have discord or some disconcerting feelings and or historical reference with! LIVE and LET LIVE!!!! You are not the Creator nor Finisher!!!!

    April 29, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    This is news? This is just perverted. What values are we teaching our kids if, every time someone comes out of the closet, it becomes a reason to celebrate. Just sickening.

    April 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Roger

    There's a CNN article with an attached "voting poll" that asks if you are proud that this guy "came out." But the only available answers are "yes" and "yes." They actually had the nerve to do that and not to offer "yes" and "no."

    The fact is, this guy is very young and was brought up in the education system when Clinton was President, which means that he was brain washed by the Clinton directives. Clinton has made this poor guy twice as fit for Hell as he Himself is. But what Bill Clinton doesn't seem to know is that "you reap what you sow." Bill will probably never reap the total destruction that he's sown in this life, but just wait until the judgment of eternity when Bill Clinton is cast headlong into Hell forever by Jesus Christ himself. And while Jesus died for sinners, he is holy. He hates all sin and those who are in rebellion calling good evil and evil good. In other words, they tell God that he doesn't know what he is saying, shake their puny fist in His fact (after he lets go of his latest White House intern's breast) and says, "God you are outdated, this is NOT sin." The Bible says that God actually laughs at such foolishness and at how the rebellious like Bill and Hillary Clinton actually think that God will not judge them. But in eternity, both, and all like them, will be cast headlong into the pit of Hell for eternity.

    April 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. Miguel

    Just sickening! Why celebrate everytime someone comes out of the closet. This contravenes society's values.

    April 29, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Miguel

    Everyone keeps saying "Good" this and "Good" that. This of children – what values do we want to instill upon them? If you're in the closet, the "good" thing would be to remain in it.

    April 29, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. mlb

    Huge respect for you Jason. You have my support. I am sorry for all you suffered in the past, and hope you sleep really well now from this point forward 🙂

    April 29, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Nan Schoonmaker

    thank you Middle Aged Gay for saying what I was going to. Exactly. Yikes, what else did they teach that poor 4 year old kid?? This is how bigots are made.

    April 29, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Sandi

    Let's make it as in your face until it's as neutral emotionally to everyone as "I just had a glass of water".

    April 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Jeff Nove

    What is sickening is your response Miguel. Societies values? Your values. Not mine.

    April 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Wake up People!

    Calm down people. He's gay and he and Chelsea were schoolmates.

    And to the nutjob blaming President Clinton for the guy being gay remember.....Judge not, lest ye be judged.

    Good lord, what really is the big deal??

    April 29, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    This is exciting, now they can combine the latin night with gay night. Spanish on NBA jerseys in rainbow letters!!! Yippy!

    April 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. petemg

    So is he gay because he loves another man or is it because it is the popular thing to do?

    April 29, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Just think, now on NBA's Mexican night (s), they can print the Spanish 'El Heat' and 'Los Spurs' in rainbow letters! YAY!

    April 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair


    Let's make it as in your face until it's as neutral emotionally to everyone as "I just had a glass of water".
    Yeah... that will help you cause.

    April 29, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Bayley0402

    Miguel, isn't it time to move into the 21st century? My guess is that people like you fit right in with the republican agenda of condemning people who don't act and think like you. And I am sure you claim to be a Christian.

    April 29, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. 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.

    April 29, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Marine57

    All too many keep saying "Good" when referring to homosexuality.
    Our children? What values do we want to instill in them?
    If you're in the closet, the "good" thing would be to remain in it to hide your perversion.
    The evil of such perversion is sickening to normal, well-behaved people!
    Only ignorant people would celebrate every time a pervert comes out of the closet?
    Homosexuality and Lesbianism contradicts the mores and folkways of society.

    Woe unto them who call evil good and good evil...

    April 29, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. comeblowyourhorn

    The Clintons will use anyone for Press. They are horrible people who are a blight on our political life. If they end up back in the WH is will be a very sad and bleak say for the United States !!!!

    April 29, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Wake up People!

    This for one makes me happy. Now if only more gay/down low men would be this honest it would be great. I'm looking at this from the viewpoint of a single, black woman. I don't want to date a guy that secretly wants to be with another guy. What kind of self esteem can a woman possess, if she is willing to settle for a man pretending to be straight??? Yet they wonder why so many "hetero" couples divorce......

    April 29, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. carlos

    all we need now is for the sweet Hannity to come out, the sooner the better....

    April 29, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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