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Video: Obama On Jason Collins: 'I'm very proud of him'

The president speaks about the NBA player's coming out at a White House press conference.

Pete Marovich

How big is the coming out as gay of NBA player Jason Collins? So big that President Obama ended his White House press conference today with words of support. Obama called Collins on Monday night. From the press conference:

I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man. I told him I couldn't be prouder.

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.