Obama Calls Jason Collins, Praises His Courage

The White House reacts to Colllins' coming out essay.

Posted: 04/30/2013 09:41 AM EDT
Obama Calls Jason Collins, Praises His Courage

NBA veteran Jason Collins came out as gay Monday in a personal essay posted to Sports Illustrated online and set off a wave of reactions that even reached the White House.

President Obama called the current NBA free agent and supported his decision to tell the world, “I’m gay.” Obama let Collins know “he was impressed by his courage,” a White House official told the Huffington Post.

Collins is being referred to as the first active male professional athlete in the major four U.S. sports leagues to come out as gay.

First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her encouragement for Collins Monday writing, “So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! –mo.”

Former President Bill Clinton also added kind words. He called Collins’ decision “an important moment in professional sports” in a statement Monday. Clinton knows Collins personally as he was a classmate and friend to his daughter, Chelsea, while they attended Stanford University.

"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,” Clinton said.

Collins’ essay will appear in the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

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(Photos from left: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, AP Photo/ABC, Eric McCandless)

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