Supportive Reaction Pours In For Jason Collins Coming Out
She had no idea.
That's what Jason Collins' ex-fiancée is saying today after the basketball player came out of the closet as the first openly gay male athlete in pro sports.
Carolyn Moos met Collins when they were both students at Stanford University. They dated for eight years. They were going to be married, but he called it off in 2009.
Collins said on Good Morning America, "Calling off the wedding was obviously a tough decision, but it was the right one because I knew I wasn't getting married for the right reasons."
Like Jason, Carolyn is a gifted athlete and stands a towering 6' 5". She says her ex reached out to her only last weekend to tell her he was about to announce to the world, "I'm gay."
"It's very emotional for me as a woman to have invested eight years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate, and best friend in him. So this is all hard to understand," says Carolyn.
She now works as a personal trainer in Los Angeles.
"I care about [Jason] tremendously and only want the best for him. I want Jason to be happy for a lifetime and stay true to who he really is, inside and out," said Carolyn.
There's an outpouring of support for Collins after his historic announcement.
At the end of President Obama's White House press conference Tuesday, he actually returned to the podium to express his public support for Collins.
The president said, "For an individual who's 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 feet tall and can bang with Shaq,' I'm very proud of him."
The president also personally called the Washington Wizards player.
On Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos asked, "What did he say?"
Collins replied, "He was incredibly supportive and was proud of me, and said this not only affected my life but others."
Some of the biggest names in America are also praising Collins' courage.
Ellen DeGeneres said on her show, "I applaud you, Jason Collins. I applaud you."
But there were these critical words from ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard who said, "I'm a Christian. I don't agree with homosexuality. I think it's a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is."
Broussard later released a statement: "I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA."
Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, came out yesterday in a heartfelt first-person Sports Illustrated cover story with these now famous words, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black and I'm gay."
Stephanopoulos asked, "You always knew you were gay?"
"Yeah. I sort of describe it as, you know that the sky is blue but you keep telling yourself that it's red," replied Collins.
Collins revealed he was sending a secret shout out to the gay community by picking the number 98 for his jersey. In 1998, Matthew Shepard became an icon in the gay rights movement after he was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming.
"Each time I put on jersey 98 this past season, I was already sort of having that moment with myself, with my family, with my friends who knew the significance of why I picked that number. When you finally get to that point of acceptance, there's nothing more beautiful," said Collins.