CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- People in Charlotte's gay community are grateful and proud of Jason Collins’ announcement.
It is the Sports Illustrated cover no one saw coming: NBA player Jason Collins coming out as a gay man.
Ben Smith is the president of The Royals -- Charlotte's gay rugby team. “It’s really very cool, very impressive,” he said.
He and his teammates said that Collins' announcement is a game changer.
“To be the first one to break a barrier is always a huge step. It takes a lot of courage. I give it up to him,” said Arthur Milne.
Branson Brown added, “I think this is one thing that will help youth throughout the U.S. Kind of like, 'I'm a gay athlete, maybe I should tell people.'"
Even the President voiced his support for Collins.
But not everyone feels the same.
Charlotte pastor, Michael Stevens, disapproves of the President and Jason Collins, posting on his Facebook page: “This is a very sad day for America... and for the Prez to call this homo? Wow! What happened to...protecting and preserving marriage between man and woman? Who's next? The perverts and pedophiles? Absolutely, they'll come out and too, get a warm reception and phone call from your IDOL and President.”
Another local pastor spoke out in favor of Collins though.
“It is not our place to judge. It is our place to love,” said Pastor Leonzo Lynch.