April 30 - U.S. President Barack Obama says he is proud of a gay athlete who disclosed his sexuality -- the first athlete in a major American professional sport to come out publicly. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday (April 30) said he was "very proud" of National Basketball Association player Jason Collins for coming out as gay and said it was a sign of progress in the United States. Obama spoke to Collins on the phone on Monday after the player had made his announcement in a Sports Illustrated article. "I told him I couldn't be prouder. You know, 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 a part of the American family," Obama said, answering the final question at a White House news conference. "Given the importance of sports in our society for an individual who--, who's excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports go ahead and say, 'This is who I am. I'm proud of it. I'm still a great competitor. I'm still seven-foot tall and can bang with Shaq. And-- and, you know, deliver a hard foul. And, you know, for--, for I think a lot of young people out there who, you know, are, you know, gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues to see a role model like that, who's unafraid, I think it's a great thing," he added. The 34-year-old Collins had said earlier in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America that it was "incredible" to receive a phone call from the president.