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Bucs support NBA player Collins coming out

MILWAUKEE -- Pirates players aware of the development -- and many in Miller Park's visiting clubhouse not yet were -- on Monday wholly supported NBA player Jason Collins' move to publicly come out as gay.

"I think it's great," said reliever Jared Hughes, who felt a similar revelation in baseball would be as tolerated. "He's being honest, being himself and he's an inspiration to the community. I think it's a really good thing."

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"Honestly, and I can can only speak for myself personally, I would be totally comfortable and happy [if that happened]," Hughes added. "I can't speak for everybody, but I can speak for myself and say that would be a very good thing."

The 27-year-old Hughes is a relative new big leaguer, the 2012 season having been his first full season in the Majors. Brandon Inge, a 35-year-old veteran in his 13th big league season, had a comparable reaction.

"You have guys from different countries, different nationalities, different ethnicities. Not everyone is going to be the same," Inge said, "so why should we judge anyone for what their preference is, or what their likes and dislikes are?

"The way I look at it, everyone's equal, or at least it should be that way. If someone is not bothering you, then … and the same rules go for the clubhouse -- inside, we're all a family. If you have a child, you're still gonna love him, gay or not gay."

"People are going to be people, they can't change being who they are," Jason Grilli said. "If you can figure out a way to be a good player, and guys can accept that … I'm sure there have been plenty of [gay athletes] who just haven't come out. Maybe he's going to be the Pied Piper and more will come out now. Who knows?"

Inge sensed Collins will be the target of some scorn -- not necessarily from peers, but from segments of the public -- and noted, "Anyone makes fun of someone like that, they probably have some issues they have going on themselves. You've got to treat everyone the same. I do."

"Just from the basic [demographic] percentages … you know plenty of athletes are gay," Hughes said, "and the fact he's come out and is open with it is a great thing for the progress of the community."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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