After wrapping up a press conference on Tuesday at the White House, President Obama returned to the podium to praise veteran NBA player Jason Collins' decision to come out as gay.
"I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man. I told him I couldn't be prouder," Obama said, according to a rush transcript.
Obama added: "One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we've seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they're fully part of the American family. And given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who's excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to say, 'This is who I am, I'm proud of it. I'm still a great competitor. I'm still 7 feet tall and can bang with Shaq and deliver a hard foul.' And you know, for, I think, a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid, I think this is a great thing. This is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly and everybody's part of a family and we judge people on the basis of their character and performance and not their sexual orientation. I'm very proud of him."