Braun supports NBA player Collins coming out

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers would welcome a gay player in the clubhouse, Ryan Braun said Monday on the day that NBA center Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete to come out.

"Absolutely, I would hope so," Braun said. "I know I would be. I think everybody else would be, as well."

Braun said it was great that Collins decided to be open about his sexual orientation.

"For all of us as athletes, we should all be tolerant," he said. "Not only tolerant but accepting. I think it's a great thing. I think everybody should be encouraged to be comfortable and confident in who they are, and I think hopefully it's the first step in the right direction for anybody that's going through some of the same things that he went through.

"It's definitely a step in a positive direction I think for all athletes and hopefully for society in general."

Braun said he was surprised it took until 2013 for an active player to announce he was gay.

"I understand the challenges associated with being the first person to come out who is actively playing," he said. "I'm sure the numbers would suggest there have been plenty of professional athletes who have been gay who hadn't come out.

"So I guess I'm a little surprised it's taken this long, but at the same time, it's obviously a complicated situation, a complicated issue," he said. "The timing needed to be right for somebody to be confident enough to come out and be the first one to make that statement."

Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.