The White House today hailed NBA center Jason Collins for his public declaration that that he's gay, calling his decision an "example of the progress that has been made" in the U.S.
Collins made the announcement in a Sports Illustrated column, writing that he didn't set out to become the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport: "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this," he wrote. "Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he hadn't talked with President Obama about the development, but said the White House views it "as another example of the progress that has been made and the evolution that has been taking place in this country."
Carney said the White House would "commend him for his courage and support him in this effort and hope that his fans and his team support him going forward."
Collins cited Obama in the column, writing that "the more people who speak out, the better, gay or straight. It starts with President Obama's mentioning the 1969 Stonewall riots, which launched the gay rights movement, during his second inaugural address."
First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted congrats Monday afternoon: "So proud of you, Jason Collins! This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back! -mo"