Obama riffs on Jason Collins coming out as gay

An interesting moment in this morning’s press conference by President Obama. He was walking off the dais when someone yelled a question about NBA player Jason Collins announcing yesterday that he’s gay.

Collins is the first man in a major professional sport (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB) to come out.

Washington Wizards' Jason Collins, courtesy of the NBA.

Washington Wizards’ Jason Collins, courtesy of the NBA.

Obama immediately pivoted, made his way back to the podium, then riffed for a good two minutes about Collins and the significance of his coming out. It was quite a moment, and really kind of fascinating that Obama felt so strongly about the issue that he pivoted and came back to the podium. I’m not entirely sure what it all means, but it’s a good sign that he felt the need to come back and address the issue, and do it so strongly, when he clearly didn’t have to.

Just as interesting, Obama revealed that he spoke with Collins yesterday.  I had no idea.  But of course, the inimitable Amanda Terkel and Sam Stein knew :)

Q Jason Collins? Do you want to say anything about it?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man. And I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him.

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.

And given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who has excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to 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 — (laughter) — and deliver a hard foul — and 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 it’s a great thing.

And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody is part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. So I’m very proud of him.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Bill_Perdue

    I’m always positive that Obots and their cousins in GOProud are going to lose.

    I think I’ll go help that process develop.

  • wmforr

    Good to see you, Bill. Thanks for starting us off on a positive note.

    I think I’ll go slit my wrists now.

  • emjayay

    I think you missed the point.

  • samizdat

    I call him Drone-bama for good reason. He’s an unindicted war criminal.

    He’s a coward.

  • lynchie

    No one mention the prompter or your other points. Stop beating his drum so loudly and look at what he says and what he does and notice the disconnect.

  • lynchie

    By overly cautious did you mean liar.

  • lynchie

    Another example was his forced visit to West, Texas and gave the “America is behind you” horseshit. At no time did he say he would make sure this explosion would never happen again. Same with this Collins comment. No capital expended, no promises made, no action, no one inn 1% can get upset and the Obots crap themselves with glee. Collins is news 24/7 and West, Texas is a tag line running at the bottom of the screen. Don’t get me wrong I think Collins public announcement is very brave but it pales compared to a town being flattened and 15+ dead.

  • emjayay

    Since I often read comments on Yahoo! News to keep up with the opinions of the great unwashed, I should have remembered that Obama is also a liar. And he needs a teleprompter to say three words in a sentence. And he’s married to fat cow Mooshell.

  • emjayay

    Right. Obama is a tyrant. And a dictator. And a Socialist Communist Fascist Kenyan. What is this, Yahoo! News?

    Or maybe he’s an often overly careful politician and a person who, like you and me hopefully, learns and changes over time.

  • It sure helps to be a famous hunk’n basketball star to get O’s attention.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not a bad thing to say but it’s overshadowed by has calculated and insulting refusal to campaign for DOMA repeal, the passage of ENDA or even better a comprehensive, robust, inclusive Civil Rights Amendment and his torture and prosecution of Brad Manning.

    Obama remains a bigot in spite of his election inspired rebranding about marriage equality. People are bigots depending on what they do and the totality of their record. Obama remains a bigot.

  • nicho

    Nope. Dan Choi got arrested. But Obama wets his pants over a basketball player.

  • nicho

    Having the president talk about equality shouldn’t be considered a “gift.” It should be a given.

  • Sweetie

    If the Trojans had looked at the horse more carefully…

  • S1AMER

    Jeez, people, can’t you just take it as a good thing that the President of the freakin’ US of A takes a few minutes to say something supportive of LGBT Americans?

  • We have become the subjects of capricious monarchs, eager for the showing of what used to be called “favour”. Tiny gestures of sympathy are supposed to transport us into frenzies of gratitude for favour shown, I guess.

  • UncleBucky


  • FLL

    In my comment, I’m only suggesting that Obama use the pro-equality rhetoric of his bully pulpit to inform what will surely be the defining piece of legislation of 2013, immigration reform. History is watching.

  • dcinsider

    Boy, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. These comments are so depressing.

  • The only thing Obama can twist is which lie he feels is appropriate to the occasion.

  • Not going to happen. Obama and all tyrants hate true tellers.

  • nicho

    Now, if he would just be as supportive of Bradley Manning…….

  • Leota2

    Indeed . . . . http://the obamadiary.com/2013/04/29/a-seminal-moment-in-the-fight-for-equality/

  • FLL

    Using the presidential bully pulpit in the cause of equality can be a powerful thing, which is why Teddy Roosevelt coined the term in the first place. However, Obama needs to combined it with twisting the arms of Democratic senators in the cause of immigration equality since immigration reform will be the signature piece of legislation for 2013. The fairness (or unfairness) of immigration reform will be how history remembers 2013.

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