April 29, 2013

Worldwide reaction to Collins' announcement

The Associated Press

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

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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 @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 Levinson.

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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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"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.

(Continued on page 2)

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