Former President Bill Clinton released a statement Monday morning in support of the first active male professional athlete in the U.S. to publicly announce that he's gay.
Jason Collins, who has played 13 NBA seasons with six different teams, made the announcement that he was the nation's first openly gay athlete still playing professionally in a piece on SportsIllustrated.com Monday morning. He is currently a free agent who last played with the Washington Wizards this season.
"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay," Collins said in the article.
The Clinton connection stems from his daughter, Chelsea, who attended college with Collins. Clinton released the statement through his foundation's website.
"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 said in the release. "LGBT" is a short-hand term that refers to a community of people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
"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 continued to say. "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."
Collins is averaging 3.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game over the course of his career.