Out American footballer says he struggles to identify with gay community

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

College Football player Mason Darrow publicly came out as gay recently.

Darrow – an offensive lineman for the NCAA Division I team Princeton Tigers – had come out to his teammates in 2013 and to his coaches earlier this year

However, today told the world – discussing his sexuality in a profile piece with Outsports.

At present, he is believed to be the only openly gay player in major college football.

He says his decision to publicly come out was to “empower other gay football players” and to challenge the stereotypes.

Growing up Mr Darrow says he never struggled with the morality of being gay but “never figured he could actually be queer”, as he felt disconnected from the gay stereotype he saw portrayed in the media.

This continued through High School, where he hid the fact he was gay and struggled to understand his orientation thinking that his athleticism and sporting ability “was not the life of a gay man”.

He therefore found it hard to reconcile being gay and a sportsman, saying: “I like football. It just made it harder to figure out [I was gay] because I didn’t fit into the stereotype.”

The player also admitted “I still don’t identify with the gay community very much”.

One of the reasons for this was because of the poor representation of gay men in American Football, especially the NFL – where there has never been an openly gay player.

Although there have been some improvements recently – with Michael Sam in 2014 becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL – there is still a long way to go.

The positive and encouraging reaction from his teammates to his coming out has been “hugely empowering” he says and remarks that “telling my teammates was the best decision I have ever made.”