NBA

Reaction to Jason Collins coming out as gay

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Reaction from NBA veteran Jason Collins' first-person account published in Sports Illustrated, as he came out as the first gay male player in the four major American professional sports:

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''If you have learned anything from Jackie Robinson, it is that teammates are always the first to accept. It will be society who has to learn tolerance.'' - Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

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''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.'' - former President Bill Clinton.

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''Hey Jason Collins-you are now an activist!!! And trust me, you will sleep a lot better now- freedom is a sweet feeling indeed!'' - tennis great Martina Navratilova.

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''Jason has been a widely respected player and teammate throughout his career and we are proud he has assumed the leadership mantle on this very important issue.'' - NBA Commissioner David Stern.

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''Hopefully he can pave the way for other gay men in sports to be able to live free. I really do feel like it's all coming together now, the dominos are starting to fall in a positive direction in all aspects of the LGBTQ community and it's such an exciting time.'' - U.S. women's soccer player Megan Rapinoe, who came out just before the 2012 London Olympics.

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''I only want one thing out of my teammate: a commitment to winning. Whether he is straight, gay, black, white, from Earth, or from Mars is immaterial. Just help us win.'' - Miami Heat forward Shane Battier.

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''I think he is immensely brave. I think it's a shame in this day and age he has to be immensely brave, but he is.'' - Former NBA player John Amaechi, who came out as gay in 2007.

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''Don't suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.'' - Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

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''I will always support people for being who they are. Happy for (at)jasoncollins34 that he can lead an honest life.'' - Cleveland Indians outfielder Nick Swisher.

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''I don't think he'll be received any differently. There shouldn't be any reason you would view him differently.'' - Milwaukee Bucks guard J.J. Redick.

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''Jason represented everything that we look for as a member of the Atlanta Hawks and we are proud he wore our jersey.'' - Atlanta Hawks managing partner Bruce Levenson.

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''I'm sure there were, who cares though?'' - former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, asked if he ever had a gay teammate.

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''Jason is one of the best teammates that I've ever had. He was a great presence in the locker room and an even better person.'' - Atlanta Hawks forward-center Zaza Pachulia.

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''I was surprised. I didn't know and I was right next to him in the locker room.'' - Wizards guard Garrett Temple.

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''Jason Collins' commitment to living openly is a monumental step forward toward greater equality and he immediately becomes a role model for youth all across this country.'' - Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.

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''The time has come. Maximum respect.'' - Lakers guard Steve Nash.

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''Great teammate, mentor and better person !!'' - Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

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''Still going to whoop you on the golf course.'' - Former NBA guard Nick Van Exel, in a tweet to Collins.

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''Basketball does not define Jason Collins. His decision to come out publicly doesn't define Jason Collins. What defines Jason, is he is a first-rate human being who made a huge contribution to (Stanford), and every team or community he has been a part of.'' - Former NBA player and Stanford assistant coach Mark Madsen, a college teammate of Collins'.

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''I've got gay friends, gay people who work for me. It's not like anything out of the norm.'' - Lakers forward Metta World Peace.

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''Jason Collins showed a lot of courage today and I respect him for taking a stand and choosing to live in his truth. (hash)nbafamily.'' - Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

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''We salute you, (at)jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.'' - statement from the Boston Red Sox.

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''you have made sports what it should be and that's ''OPEN'' proud of you for being you.'' - former Wizards teammate Martell Webster, who continued his tweet by teasing Collins that his jump shot ''is still weak lol.''

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''I feel a movement coming.'' - former U.S. men's national soccer team player Robbie Rogers, who revealed earlier this year that he is gay.

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''What Jason wrote was beautiful on multiple levels. It's not a reaction to some rumor and it's not some unwanted outing. It's his message, and it was delivered under his control and on his terms.'' - Former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita.

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''I have known him and his family for a long time, since his sophomore year in high school when we started the recruiting process. He is a tremendous player and smart, fierce competitor. Jason is (a) guy you want to have on your side.'' - Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery, Collins' coach at Stanford.

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''Somebody had to be the first.'' - Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

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''I feel like everybody on my team, everybody on every team, deserves to be loved by their teammates for whatever type of person that they are.'' - Miami Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey.

Tagged: Hawks, Lakers, Heat, Wizards, Jason Collins

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