The Chicago Cubs were supportive of NBA player Jason Collins’ decision to come out as the first openly gay professional athlete in a major North American sport.

“I think it’s kind of a benign thing,” second baseman Darwin Barney said. “Everyone is connected (to the gay community) in some way, whether it’s a family member or a friend. I have family members that are (gay). That’s the way of life and I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal. I think he’ll be protected just fine and I (wish) the best for him.”

President Theo Epstein called Collins a "courageous guy” and said his essay in Sports Illustrated announcing his decision was “impressive.”

Starter Edwin Jackson said he believes everyone should have the right to live their lives the way they want.

“To each his own,” he said.

Manager Dale Sveum said Collins’ decision would help others in the same boat.

“I think everybody is entitled to do whatever they want in their life," he said. “I don’t think it changes anything. I think it might help a lot of other people. It’s part of our culture and society now, and there’s nothing wrong with what people do with their lives.

"We’re all different human beings. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It could end being a good thing in the long run.”

Laura Ricketts, one of the four Ricketts' siblings on the board of directors, is openly gay and has done volunteer and advocacy work on behalf of the LGBT community. Some players, including Barney, took part in the "It Gets Better" video campaign to help prevent the bullying of gay teens.

Barney said there hasn’t been much talk amongst his teammates on how they’d handle such a situation if it happened in their own clubhouse.

“Not really,” he said. “You be surprised on how it doesn’t really faze people. We’re here to do our job, and this is a workplace, just like anywhere else. You’re allowed to be black, white, gay straight, whatever ... That’s the beauty of this country, and if there is any discrimination there, it’s a sad thing.”