Out gay athlete Jason Collins to sit in first lady’s viewing box at SOTU

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Jason Collins on the cover of SI.

When President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union on Jan. 28, out basketball player Jason Collins will be seated in the first lady’s box.

The announcements of those who will be seated in the box often provide clues as to what issues the president will address in the speech.

Collins had played 12 years with the NBA when he came out as gay last April, becoming the first male athlete in a major American team sport to come out while still actively playing.

Obama has said he “couldn’t be prouder” of Collins, recognizing this as a point of progress for the LGBT community, and one more step in America’s goal to treat everyone fairly and with respect, according to a White House statement.

Collins was listed in the first announcement of those invited to the first lady’s box. Others include Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing;  Gary Bird, Moore, Okla., fire chief; Joey Hudy, an Intel intern; Kathy Hollowell-Makle, Washington, D.C. teacher of the year.