Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Phil Coke has been known to speak his mind a time or two. 

While he's typically a humorous character, Coke was serious Monday when asked about Jason Collins, an NBA free agent who announced that he was homosexual. He's believed to be the first active openly-gay athlete in any of the four major sports (basketball, football, baseball and hockey). 

Coke applauds Collins' bravery, but he doesn't understand why people are expected to make such a big deal out of the situation. 

Coke said the following via CBS Sports

Well, for starters, hats off to him for being on the stage that he is on and basically now representing all major league sports and being the first. I don’t feel like there should be a need for this, because we are supposedly so much more advanced than we once were – why is it even an issue

Coke was asked how the Tigers would react to an openly-gay teammate. He also expressed admiration for Collins' decision to make such a statement about his personal life.

If there is a guy in here that his preference was other … than you know … so what, he goes out there and does his job that’s all that matters – we are all family here. You’ve got to have some serious … fortitude to do be able to do that and under the possibility of mass scrutiny – he’s standing up for himself as well as … the community … you’ve got to have respect for that

Collins' announcement has been met with a wide array of opinions. Even those beyond the realm of sports have commented on Collins' lifestyle, which is featured in the May 6 issues of Sports Illustrated.

Follow creator Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81