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NCAA Football Player Mitch Eby Comes Out as Gay


Outsports reports on another moving coming out in the football world.

Mitch Eby is a junior defensive end on the Chapman University Football team, who reached out to Willamette University kicker Commer Mertens, who came out of the closet (the first active college football player to do so) in January as he was struggling with the decision to tell his team:

For Eby, who had only ever come out to one other person, talking with Mertens was a revelation. The two kibitzed over football, Eby shared his fears about coming out and Mertens talked about his experience with telling his team. Mertens had chosen to have his Willamette team read a letter from him at a team meeting - without himself present.

Eby knew he wanted to tell his team himself, but there was some work to be done before that was possible.

After telling his head coach and his roommates, who were also teammates, Eby gave a speech to his team, which read, in part:

I am ready to share with you all that I am gay.

"It has taken me years to accept myself for who I truly am, so it's irrational to expect everybody to unconditionally accept me right away. However, the one thing that I hope that I can count on from each of you, my teammates, is your respect. Your respect as a friend, your respect as a teammate, and your respect as a man.

"Being gay may be something that defines me, but it does not limit me. It is such a small part of who I am. I am the same person you all know, no different than before. I'm still the kid that is obsessed with pretty much anything having to do with sports, I'm still the kid that some of you love to call stupid nicknames like ‘mom' and ‘hot dog,' and I'm still someone who will continue to go out there every day and push myself and push my teammates to be the best football team around. I am your teammate, I am your classmate and I am your brother. And I know that my brothers will continue to stand by my side, no matter what."

When he had finished speaking, the team erupted in applause. Eby smiled, taken aback by the overwhelming response. As the clapping ceased, Eby broke the silence with the most profound words he would share all night: "So how about some pizza?"

Read Eby's full story over at Outsports.

Athlete Ally Founder Hudson Taylor responded to Eby's coming out in a statement provided to Towleroad:

“Mitch is demonstrating great courage and leadership by publicly coming out as gay while still actively playing college football. While the decision to take this step is a deeply personal one, it impacts countless other young closeted athletes who will wrestle with how to compete and live their lives authentically. Today represents another important step in making sports a welcoming environment for all."

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  1. Awesome! Really happy for him and loved his team mates response.

    Posted by: FAEN | Mar 31, 2014 12:21:42 PM

  2. Cheers to more, boys. Welcome to the club.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 31, 2014 12:23:02 PM

  3. Wow. More brave young Gay men (and Gay women, ofcourse, also).

    Just brave! I feel good this afternoon.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Mar 31, 2014 12:32:45 PM

  4. Great story. Chapman,however, is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Will be interesting to see how they respond.

    Posted by: Turing's Ghost | Mar 31, 2014 12:50:12 PM

  5. Good for him and while it is always nice to see more masculine gay men come out and break stereotypes and by so doing, provide role models for others that will help eradicate the culture of effeminacy--to be honest, this is largely a non-event in the college football world since nobody pays any attention to Chapman University

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 31, 2014 12:51:17 PM

  6. "Help eradicate the culture of effeminacy." Lol, Rick. If you so embody the masculine ideal you rant about all the time, over and over, then prove it by coming out. It's super easy to complain about the lack of visibility of the kinds of people you like and identify with when you yourself are not visible, and thus not held accountable. Perhaps if you weren't a pathetic troll who hates himself above all others (though you do hate minorities, women and all other LGBT people nearly as much), you could accomplish in yourself what you so desire from the world around you.

    Or, you know, you could get bent and get lost.

    Posted by: Tyler | Mar 31, 2014 1:06:53 PM

  7. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a very liberal denomination. Very much like the UCC. Shouldn't be a problem there.

    Posted by: Seattle Mike | Mar 31, 2014 1:17:11 PM

  8. Handsome guy. Well done. I hope him all the best.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Mar 31, 2014 1:29:14 PM

  9. Rick: careful about going too far with your satire. Dissing trans persons (who I have a problem with myself) and dissing effeminacy in gay men -- is also a sign of detesting femininity in general, even in real women.

    Posted by: will | Mar 31, 2014 1:44:33 PM

  10. Rick has to be a real flamer, because he doth protest too much.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Mar 31, 2014 1:47:36 PM

  11. One more step towards bringing us closer to the day when coming out will no longer be newsworthy.

    Posted by: Howard B | Mar 31, 2014 2:04:25 PM

  12. Too many "sistermen" will hate this news...

    Posted by: styler | Mar 31, 2014 2:17:44 PM

  13. No, Styler. Just you....Rick. You posted above under that name, but I called you out. So now you've posted under Styler. We get it: you hate LGBT people. How many usernames/posts do you need to make that point clear?

    Posted by: Tyler | Mar 31, 2014 2:20:08 PM

  14. I'd like to see this guy and his teammates collectively have a little "conversation" with radical Chapman Law professor John Eastman of NOM amicus briefs infamy.

    Posted by: Marco Luxe | Mar 31, 2014 2:59:16 PM

  15. I know every little bit helps, but...

    Michael Sam: SEC, Division I BCS school
    Mitch Eby, Chapman University, Division 3.

    When Mitch Eby graduates, this stops being a high-profile coming out, because he will get no attention from NFL scouts at all and becomes one of those student-athlets who's "going pro in something other than sports" that the NCAA is always talking up.

    Posted by: Jerry | Mar 31, 2014 3:06:40 PM

  16. that's one way to throw open the closet doors! haha. honestly though, best wishes for this guy.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Mar 31, 2014 3:30:27 PM

  17. and, what the hick is a "sistermen"?? do i even want to know. is that like heyyyy sistuhhhh... how u doin?

    Posted by: Lucas H | Mar 31, 2014 3:31:26 PM

  18. Yes, I agree with Seattle Mike. Chapman University's link to the Disciples of Christ website has a section on what they call their "GLAD Alliance."

    And Chapman University actually offers a minor in Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Studies:

    Posted by: Lexis | Mar 31, 2014 4:27:21 PM

  19. The Blue-Green Archetype (Masculine-Feminine Gay Man)

    The Living Room Mysteries by Graham Jackson /

    The blue-green man is cast as the perfect fantasy figure for many gay men. He possesses that approachable, grounded, earthy sensuality of the feminine green-red man, but couple with a clear-headed, sometimes thoughtful, no-nonsense brand of masculinity.

    His physical appearance is a maleness of a collegiate quality, combined with an overt sexuality.
    He is the kind of figure people call rugged, manly.

    He could be an adventurer, relishing the opportunity to climb high peaks or negotiate difficult bodies of water in a kayak or canoe.

    Sporting life is bound to appeal to the blue-green man for the chance it provides for him to self-connect.

    He may be intelligent, may even wear glasses, but his intelligence will always have a practical aim to meet. Our man Frank probably belongs to this type.

    Even Waugh would have us believe that a painter like Charles Ryder can even be blue-green. And why not? Ryder’s art is neither flamboyant nor wildly innovative; he paints from life and nature.

    Vidal’s tennis champ Jim is more a likely exponent of the type. As is the blue-eyed, blue-jeaned, oh-so-masculine Oxford academic Mark, beloved of the narrator in Burning Houses.

    Greek film director Theo Angelopoulos portrays another with the character of the boyish and blue-jeaned Orestes, the van driver for a group of itinerant actors, in his hauntingly beautiful film, Landscape in the Mist.

    With Orestes, we observe how the maternal energy, nurturing side of these masculine guys only adds to their studly appeal.

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 31, 2014 4:37:01 PM

  20. The Fraternity Brother Archetype (Masculine Gay Man)

    The Living Room Mysteries by Graham Jackson/

    The powder –blue man is the eternal jock. Long after he’s lost this knack you’ll find him at the clubhouse. He likes clubbiness and being in groups of men as much as the Embellisher dislikes it. This is the reason I call him the Fraternity Brother: he subscribes to the ideal of brother hood. In addition to his college fraternity, his sports club, his union, he will often find his way into other “clubs”, whether formal or informal (the guys from work).

    He may even join a military reserve fore just for the opportunity to around other men. His is the type, which loves traditional maleness best. With him, homoerotic potential is so close to the surface it’s palpable. Yet there’s more fear of it in this kind of man.

    He protects himself from it through the elaborate codifications of the bonding rituals he permits himself to enter. He creates very sturdy line of communication that on a daily basis keep him upright and secure. He rues the day when by accident the falls through the safety net of approved language, gesture. This kind of guy is notorious for his fear of scenes, by which he means emotions, and will keep moving to avoid them.

    The blue man’s doggedness, his determination to push through, to master the situation can be used in the service of relationships. Fraternity Brothers can be remarkably stubborn where their hearts are engaged. Getting them to such a deep connection is not easy, but once there, the Fraternity Brother is faithfully committed.

    The Fraternity Brother retains his boyishness, his slightly spoiled charm. There’s often something well bred, well connected, outgoing, movie star-leading man quality about this type, even when he comes from a humble background.

    His health, vigor, physical beauty, upbeat, extraverted, jocky gregariousness seems to win from an unceasing admiration akin to doting parents.

    AND they do have a feminine side:

    The blue man’s femminine side/soul sister is Athena-like, intellectually strong, determined, organized. She might easily appear in a long whitish blue robe with a kind of gold tiara or even helmet on her head and a lance, spear, or sword in her hand. She is justice, truth, right, and knowledge.

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 31, 2014 4:38:00 PM

  21. This is nice. We should expect some more niceness as the damn breaks.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 31, 2014 4:45:40 PM

  22. This is the homophobes worst nightmare coming true. MALE ATHLETES now proudly coming out as gay. In the past, men were supposed to be ashamed to be associated with the effeminate gay stereotypes. Thanks to brave men like this, those stereotypes are finally be challenged and overturned. Thank you Mitch Eby.

    Posted by: Glen | Mar 31, 2014 5:33:57 PM

  23. Well done young gay brother- you make the rest of us proud!

    Posted by: jarago | Mar 31, 2014 5:35:09 PM

  24. Congrats to him! Great job - be yourself!

    Posted by: Reality | Mar 31, 2014 7:45:01 PM

  25. Litper (Rick), do you ever tire of attacking people for no reason? Why are you obsessed with Trans people, and why are you so investors in tearing down effeminacy in others/effeminate men? I mean you're obviously nuts and a huge troll. Were you mentally abused as a child? Dropped on your head as an infant? Sexually ignored as an adult? All three?

    Posted by: Tyler | Mar 31, 2014 7:58:58 PM

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