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Originally published Monday, April 29, 2013 at 10:03 AM

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Bill Clinton asks fans to support Jason Collins

Former President Bill Clinton is asking fans and colleagues of NBA player Jason Collins to support and respect him after Collins announced he is gay.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

Former President Bill Clinton is asking fans and colleagues of NBA player Jason Collins to support and respect him after Collins announced he is gay.

Clinton said in a statement Monday that he has known Collins since he attended Stanford University with his daughter Chelsea. He says Collins' announcement posted on Sports Illustrated's website is an "important moment" for professional sports.

He said Collins is "a good man who wants no more than what so many of us seek - to be able to be who we are, to do our work, to build families and to contribute to our communities."

Chelsea Clinton also tweeted her support for Collins Monday.

Collins is the first active male player in the four major American professional sports to come out as gay.

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