NEW YORK, N.Y. - Patrick J. Adams, star of USA Network's legal drama, "Suits," says he was teased when he was a teenager for being interested in theatre.

"When you're the guy doing the school plays, that's not necessarily as cool as some of the other people," Adams said in a recent interview. "I got bullied a ton. I got pushed around a lot."

But things changed for Adams.

"By the end of high school, the same guy who was beating me up in the ninth grade and causing me so much strife, by the end of high school was the guy who was asking me how to write a play," Adams said. "Now he's my friend on Facebook and he's always sort of asking me questions about how he can break into the business and (for) my suggestions to become a better actor and writer."

Adams is part of USA Network's Characters Unite program, designed to fight intolerance.

The network has named February as its second Characters Unite Month. Stars from its prime-time shows like "Suits" and "Covert Affairs" have taped public service announcements and are interacting with the public about discrimination.

USA will air an original, one-hour documentary "NFL Characters Unite," profiling pro football players who share their personal stories of overcoming prejudice and discrimination on Feb. 10.

"White Collar" and "Royal Pains" will each air a special episode that deals with discrimination.

Chris McCumber, co-president of USA Network, said the campaign is a passion project.

"Characters Unite is one of the most important things we do," he said. "It has grown into this big, multiplatform effort."

Viewers can log on to the Characters Unite website and pledge to take a stand against intolerance and watch the public service announcements.

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Online:

http://www.charactersunite.com/

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Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press.

Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar .

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