ATLANTA -- Former Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collins drew widespread attention when it was revealed on Monday that this week's Sports Illustrated will include an essay in which he admits that he is gay.
While Major League Baseball has not yet had an active player admit that he is gay, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is among those who have said they would not view this as a problem within their own clubhouse.
"Being the manager of a Major League team, I could really [care less] if the guy is gay, white, black, green, Chinese or whatever," Gonzalez said. "If he helps us win a ballgame, I don't care. You treat guys like they're baseball players or football players or whatever. It doesn't bother me whatsoever."
While not saying that gay athletes would face the same hatred and inequalities that Jackie Robinson and some of baseball's other African-American pioneers experienced, Gonzalez said those that follow in Collins' footsteps could serve as an inspiration for homosexual athletes who have been reluctant to admit their sexual orientation.
"It's almost like the color barrier," Gonzalez said. "Not to the extent, but it's close. If there is a guy out there that can help you win some ballgames at any level in any sport, why not?"
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.