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Wilson applauds NBA's Collins for coming out

OAKLAND -- Three short, simple, straight-to-the-point sentences from Jason Collins gripped the entire sports landscape on Monday: "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

That was the lede to a story Collins wrote for Sports Illustrated, making him the first active player in a major American sport to announce he's homosexual.

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C.J. Wilson's reaction echoed what the vast majority of players said throughout baseball.

"It's very courageous of him to come out," the Angels' starter said. "My biggest concern was the social ramifications, for friends and family and teammates and stuff like that. But he addressed that - pretty well, I think. It was a very articulate article. I read it. It'd just be interesting to see if a team picks him up."

Collins, a 15-year veteran who suited up for the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards during the 2012-13 season and is currently a free agent, was very candid in the 3,000-word article, co-written by Franz Lidz. He talked about wanting to come out during the 2011 NBA Lockout, admitted he had no intention of becoming a pioneer, addressed religion and the Supreme Court, and basically expressed how tired he was of hiding from the truth.

"You know what was really sad about the whole thing? Reading the comments on that article," Wilson said. "Ignorance. Blazing ignorance. It's just terrible."

Wilson doesn't believe the comments section is a reflection of how athletes, particularly ballplayers, would feel about having a gay teammate. But he can only speak for himself.

"It's just being realistic that there are guys in sports that aren't straight," Wilson said. "If he can play, he can play. If a girl could come out there and throw 100 [mph] and strike everybody out, we wouldn't have a problem with it -- at least I wouldn't.

"It's performance-based. … People have put up with all sorts of differences over the years. Sports is about equality. Anybody should have a chance if they're good enough. That's what it's all about."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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