"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport,"
. "But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."
Collins, who became a free agent when the regular season ended, says he decided to talk about his sexuality now because "it takes an enormous amount of energy to guard such a big secret. I've endured years of misery and gone to enormous lengths to live a lie. I was certain that my world would fall apart if anyone knew. And yet when I acknowledged my sexuality I felt whole for the first time. I still had the same sense of humor, I still had the same mannerisms and my friends still had my back."
Collins, 34, who went to high school locally at Harvard-Westlake, also credits his former Stanford roommate for his decision to come out.
"I realized I needed to go public when
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