Chris Kluwe on out gay athlete: "Big kudos to Jason Collins"

Kluwe says he was pleasantly surprised with how quickly a pro athlete came out.
Kluwe says he was pleasantly surprised with how quickly a pro athlete came out.

Jason Collins made history today by announcing he is gay in a Sports Illustrated essay, making him the first-ever active professional athlete to come out in any of the major four male sports.

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center," the article begins. "I'm black. And I'm gay."

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Collins's historic announcement offers clear evidence that attitudes toward homosexuality in major league sports are changing, a subject we examined in our Oct. 24 cover story on Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, "Game Changer." Kluwe and Baltimore's Brendon Ayanbadejo have taken aggressive stands in favor of gay rights, and Collins gave them both a nod in his article for speaking out.

Reached by phone this morning, Kluwe says Collins coming out was "great news, obviously."

"It's very encouraging to see the fact that finally there's an openly gay athlete in one of the four major men's leagues who's comfortable being who they are," he says. "Big kudos to Jason Collins for being willing to take that step."

When we interviewed Kluwe last fall, he speculated that it would still be another five to ten years before a pro athlete came out. Asked about the timing of today's announcement, Kluwe says he was "a little surprised" it happened so quickly.

"I guess more pleasantly surprised than anything," says Kluwe. "I thought it would take a little bit more time, just foundation building, you know, just making more awareness known. But you know, it's great that Jason felt comfortable enough just to be who he is."

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