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Football (American) Hub



04/19/2007


NCAA Football Player Mitch Eby Comes Out as Gay

Eby

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."


Swedish Football Player Marcus Juhlin Comes Out as Gay

Sweden-marcus-juhlin-mainAn (American) football player in Sweden, inspired by the coming out of Michael Sam earlier this year, has followed suit with an announcement of his own.  

22-year-old Marcus Juhlin made the proclamation in the April issue of the European gay magazine QX. 

Out reports:

He's the first American football player in Sweden to come out, and according to the QX team, the reaction from his team mates and from the other teams in the league have been amazing. "They all support and respect him,"QX editor in chief Anders Öhrmantold us. Marcus sent an email to QX in December stating: ”Please help me come out from the closet and close that door once and for all.” And they did. Juhlin lives in the city of Karlstad and is playing for Carlstad Crusaders. Oh, and in case you're curious, he is single.


NFL Player-Turned-Exec Troy Vincent: I Knew 6 Players Who Were Openly Gay in the Locker Room

VincentTroy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, spoke about gays in the NFL with reporters including Palm Beach Post's Hal Habib this week:

"He said that he had openly gay teammates with the Dolphins — he played cornerback for Miami in 1992-95 — but that their sexual orientation was never an issue...

“I’m not going to share their names, but in my 15 years, there were six individuals who were at least openly gay in the locker room,” Vincent said. “No problem. From my days in Miami until I ended in Washington, they were just my teammates. Just like my family members. … We ate together, we flew together, they’re roommates in hotel rooms. It was what it was.”

Vincent has been active in the High Five Initiative, a program launched by the You Can Play Project last year that involves NFL players interactive one-on-one with LGBT youth.


Gay Former NFL Player Wade Davis Speaks to Coaches, General Managers on Homophobia, Locker Rooms

Gay former NFL player Wade Davis offered a "powerful presentation" to league coaches and general managers on Monday dealing with homophobia, sexual orientation, and gays in the locker room, Outsports reports:

DavisFrom all reports his presentation was incredibly well-received, with "many" coaches and GMs approaching Davis with praise after the meeting. Various folks from Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to San Diego Chargers head coach Mike Mccoy thanked him for a unique, powerful presentation that opened eyes.

Davis's intent was to debunk stereotypes:

"I told them they have to be intentional from day one," Davis said of the NFL teams' next steps. "They can't just talk about 'diversity,' they have to talk about addressing 'diversity and that specifically includes sexual orientation."

Davis said one of the key elements of his talk was humor. He created a running joke through his presentation about current St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher cutting him. Twice. The room ate it up. Davis wanted to lighten the mood to demonstrate no one has to tip-toe around the issues on their teams: Gay players have senses of humor too.

"Wade nailed it," Fisher said after the meeting. He was glowing in his praise of Davis' talked, saying he'll consider bringing him to talk to his team later this year.

NFL owners are set to hear from Davis on Tuesday morning.


Former NFL QB Drew Bledsoe: Gay Player a Bigger Deal To Media Than Team – VIDEO

Bledsoe

HuffPost Live conducted an interview with former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe and discussed the impact Michael Sam might have on the NFL if he's drafted. According to Bledsoe, it's a bigger deal to the media than it will be to most NFL players:

In talking to guys that are playing now and guys that I played with, it's a far bigger story in the media than it is with any of the guys that are playing.

You can watch that segment, as well as the full interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former NFL QB Drew Bledsoe: Gay Player a Bigger Deal To Media Than Team – VIDEO " »


Michael Sam Opens Online Store Ahead of Draft Featuring 'Stand with Sam' Merch

Standwithsam

Michael Sam has opened an online shop ahead of the NFL draft featuring a variety of 'Stand with Sam' apparel, he announced via Twitter on Friday. "A portion of the proceeds of all Michael Sam gear will be going to at-risk youth in the St. Louis area," according to Sam. It's unclear at this point how big a portion.


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