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Jason Collins was inspired by his old roommate, Joe Kennedy

By Muckety

April 29, 2013 at 3:20pm

Jason Collins, the first openly gay male athlete on a major American pro team, says he decided to come out after a conversation with his old college roommate.

At Stanford, Collins lived with Joseph P. Kennedy III, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Kennedy was elected to Congress last year, campaigning on a pro-gay rights platform.

“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade,” Collins wrote in an essay published in Sports Illustrated.

“I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator.”

Collins said he didn’t tell his twin brother Jarron, who is straight, until last summer.

“He was downright astounded,” Collins wrote. “He never suspected. So much for twin telepathy. But by dinner that night, he was full of brotherly love.”

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