Former NBA player Jason Collins, the first male U.S. pro athlete to come out as gay, told TMZ recently that he was seated about 20 feet from “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie Robertson during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Asked how he felt about Robertson attending, Collins said, “If he’s an invited guest he has every right to be there just as much as any other citizen of the United States.”

Collins added that he didn’t actually speak with Robertson, whose father Phil was not too long ago embroiled in controversy over comments he made about gays and race relations in the South.

Robertson attended the address as a guest of Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.). Collins was a guest of first lady Michelle Obama.

“I wish that he wasn’t moving as quick and we could have had opportunity to talk,” Collins said. “It starts with a conversation. It starts with extending your hand to shake someone’s hand or open your mouth. It starts with a conversation.”