College Football Player Mitch Eby Comes Out As Gay
This was the short speech Eby gave, which he had written out beforehand:
"I came up here today to talk to you guys about something that I've been dealing with for quite a while. It's something personal that I've always thought I could just bury away, but I can't. We live life so worried about how other people view us that we forget about ourselves. I can no longer go on living in fear, repressing myself because of how society may view me. I can no longer lie to my friends, family and teammates. It's time I lived life for myself for a change.
"With that being said, 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?"
As the team gathered for dinner, various teammates hugged Eby, thanking him for sharing himself and trusting them. One teammate even called Eby his "hero."
Eby credits Conner Mertens, the Willamette University football kicker who came out as bisexual, as an inspiration in his coming out process. Eby reached out to Mertens several weeks ago and according Outsports, the two hit it off:
"As soon as I got an email from him, it was exactly what I wanted, to see athletes like Mitch reaching out to me for help," Mertens said. "The first thing I asked him was, ‘Are you ready to start living your life?' He said he was very ready for it. Being out of the closet is so different from living life in it."
It sounds like life in the wake of coming out has been great for Eby and he wants to pay it forward. He says:
"I got a lot of help, even indirectly, from people who have gone through similar situations as mine," Eby said. "I feel somewhat of a responsibility to pay that back.
"There's a lot of bad stuff that happens and kids feel alone and they feel depressed because they're repressing their feelings because they feel like they can't talk to anybody. People shouldn't have to go through that. It's sad, and I want to be able to help if I can."
Congrats, Mitch!! Head over to Outsports for his full story.