College Baseball Player Chandler Whitney, Boyfriend of First Out College Football Player, Comes Out


Chandler Whitney, a baseball player at Walla Walla Community College and the boyfriend of Willamette University kicker Connor Mertens, who came out last week, has come out of the closet, Outsports reports:

MertensLast week when the baseball team gathered for the first practices of the new year, talk turned to stories from winter break. Because he'd spent much of the break with Mertens, Whitney felt the time was now. He stood up in front of the team, said he had contemplated whether to tell them a secret or not, and shared a "confession" he'd been holding back from them since they first met:

"I'm gay."

The team broke into spontaneous applause. It took Whitney off-guard.

"Being where I am in eastern Washington, it's not the response I expected. I'm in Walla Walla, there's not a lot of open-mindedness on the surface."

The players have been dating for six months.


  1. ratbastard says

    Impossible. He looks too ‘straight’. I bet he doesn’t even speak with a affectation or lisp. And he’s a real jock! No….no,no,no….does he even know what a Broadway musical is or get the vapors over Lady Gaga? And I’m sorry, but I don’t detect any ‘gay face’ either.

  2. says

    Times have certainly changed since I was their age. Back in 1985, when I was 21, some of the guys on my dorm hall had a “No Fags” party and put signs up all over the University of Michigan advertising it. To think that Whitney’s teammates applauded him makes me so happy with what is happening among younger people today.

  3. SpaceCadet says

    Wait, those are two different people?!? Congrats on them both coming out and basically at the same time. If those are actually what they look like, then yeah, they look like twins.

  4. will says

    I know this is meant to be a feel-good story, but it’s depressive we’re plumbing community colleges to get our gay athletes. Jason Collins is still unsigned, without a team; a small contingent of straight football players tell us they’d have no problem with a gay player, they even know some, yet nobody comes out.

  5. Josh says

    Yeah, I mean they look similar of course… as similar as any white boy with the same haircut. But they clearly look different. Less snark, more cleaning on contacts please.

  6. jjose712 says

    Michael in Toronto: Of course they don’t look the same at all, they are the same type of jock guy and they have the same hairstyle but that’s all. If people really think they look like twins they need glasses as soon as possible.

    It’s nice to see that people are less and less afraid of coming out. Maybe we lack on professional athletes, but it’s only a question of time

  7. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    @ Will: I don’t think it’s a “small contingent of straight football players” saying they’d have no problem with it – everything I’ve read about it says the opposite – that a small contingent of kids from, uh, less privileged circumstances are the only ones who have the issue. We see their stories here from time to time and how they open their mouths wide and put their foot right into it – only to be called down for it when their management realizes they have to. I think the real issue of homophobia in professional sports resides mostly in management – not among the players themselves. Think about it: virtually every one of the guys on the field has out gay friends–have had for years – at least since college, and many of them further back than that. And if they didn’t their girlfriends did–and in all likelihood the girlfriends let the boys hear about it if homophobic sentiments came ouf of their mouths.

  8. anon says

    Well, these kids aren’t using agents to shop for endorsement contracts, so yes, it is easier than for pro players, but then, they probably aren’t financially independent yet either.

  9. Sam says

    Awesome. This is the future. Happy, healthy, well-adjusted gay and bi men integrated with families, their communities, peers and exploring healthy relationships based on love.

    This is the future. Not a life built around loveless hookups. Not gays calling themselves queer and conceiving of themselves as perpetual outsiders.

    No wonder “Ben From Oakland” and “David” respond with sexual harassment. Men of their generation are getting a look at the kind of life they could have had, but passed up in favor of a hypersexualized, loveless and disease-prone subculture that they created in the 70s and 80s. It is starting to dawn on them that they created a catastrophe for themselves and fewer and fewer gay people are willing to join them.

  10. Chuck Mielke says

    Let us celebrate the increasing acceptance of gay men and same-sex love. I hope knowledge of reduced intolerance grows and reinforces general support for diversity of all kinds.

  11. SpaceCadet says

    Okay, I don’t think they look literally like twins but from the small pics on my iPhone they look similar. Put them in a photo next to each other and I’m sure the difference will be quite apparent. On a related tangent, gay couples that are clones of each other do creep me out. Strikes me of narcissism.

  12. EchtKultig says

    “Creepy look-a-like thing”

    Let me guess…creepy in the same way gays are because they are the same sex being attracted to itself? Get your head out of your a–!

  13. KJ says

    I have seen video and multiple pics of both of these guys. They do not look alike, other than the haircut. These 2 pics may give that impression, but it isn’t accurate.

    BTW, who the hell cares? The important thing is that they are great guys and they are living life the way it should be lived.

  14. RJ says

    That black & white photo of Conner Mertens is a bit over-exposed. Check out the video interview with him at the Outsports link and you’ll get a better sense of his personality and what he looks like.

  15. SpaceCadet says

    Yes, “strikes me of narcissism”. I’m not putting down these two upstanding men. I’m talking about in general of gay guys I know that will only date or hook-up with other guys that have the same look and appearance as themselves. That has nothing at all to do in the slightest of homophobes putting down gays.

  16. Perry says

    @KJ How exactly do you know they are great guys. Have you met them? Do you personally know them? Do you personally know someone who personally knows them?

  17. Hue-Man says

    Coming out at this stage of their careers means not having to worry about somebody finding out they’re gay. It means not having to lie in words and in actions. I would guess that removing these stressors and having a supportive relationship would make them better athletes.

  18. Jersey says

    Put me in the camp that thinks these are two pics of the same person. The mouth, nose, eyes, shape of the face all look identicle to me. I don’t think its creepy if you like someone who looks like yourself, its what you like but these pics look like the same guy. Sorry.

  19. Paul R says

    The guy on the bottom shot has a rounder face, more delicate features (ears, eyes), and less cropped hair (especially on the sides). Presumably they met in high school or shortly thereafter and are from the same area, which means they likely come from similar ethnic backgrounds. That’s quite common in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and (of course) Utah, where everyone looks like a robotic variation on the same dynamic.

    These two look alike in that they’re both white athletes from the Midwest. Who cares?

  20. Kevin says


    We didn’t “create” the atmosphere of the 70’s and 80’s in a vacuum. We were an oppressed, hated minority who tried to scratch what little pleasure and happiness we could find out of the America of that era. I was there, I remember what it was like. Were you?

    Had we been treated like human beings, dare I say, Americans, with the full rights and privileges we were due, those years might have turned out very different. Don’t hate on us, we did the best we could with a sick culture: Mainstream America.

    I could myself lucky that I’ve lived long enough to see things change this much, where two jocks can both come out and admit they’re seeing each other. Unheard of just 20 years ago, much less 30-40 years ago. Not sure why you felt you had to take a shot at the gay subculture of that era, but I don’t appreciate it.

  21. mikeflower says

    The “Mall Cops” of college sports are awakening. Frm reading about Connor I expect him to be heading an x-gay christian ministry in a few years time.

  22. says

    Retired to France but grew up in Seattle and my folks are from Walla Walla. Eastern Washington is farm country, but people are quite open-minded compared to the Midwest and Southern farm country. The Walla Walla state representative worked hard for equal marriage and has a lesbian daughter.

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