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Conner Mertens Becomes First Active College Football Player To Come Out Of The Closet

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Mark your calendars because Tuesday, January 28, 204 is going down in history. America finally has its very first openly-LGBT active college football player in Conner Mertens, who has broken the barrier by coming out of the closet today. 

Conner unsurprisingly went with Outsports to deliver the big news. 

"I'm bisexual," Mertens told [Coach] Fowles. "I like dudes. I have a boyfriend. And next week, I'm going to tell the world."

Mertens didn't easily arrive at his decision to come out to his coach or team, let alone publicly. No college football player in the United States at any level has ever come out publicly while still playing. Some have come out to their team, many have come out to friends, but none have said publicly that they are LGBT.

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While some will dismiss the story because he's a Div. III kicker, and others will pooh-pooh it because he's bisexual, no one has ever done what he's doing by telling his story. No college football player before him has stepped out into the public as an out man in hopes of inspiring youth to be themselves.

In a lot of ways, Mertens' situation -- redshirt freshman kicker -- make this story that much more powerful. His situation made the move as risky as it could be: For the players and coaches, he could easily be viewed as dispensable. Instead, they are embracing him.

"Coach didn't blink an eye," Mertens said of his revelation. "He talked about how they don't build football players at Willamette, they build men, and that he was proud that I could tell him this about myself."

Prior to coming out publicly this week, Mertens' coach gathered the 16 team leaders to give them a head start on the news. Their reaction, as Fowles describes it, was "a parade." Shortly after, many in the team sent Mertens kind-hearted texts, including these:

"It's been insanely incredible," Mertens said. "I'm speechless. That is the only word I can use to describe this. Even a lot of the guys on the football team I was most scared of are the ones who have been the most amazing."

 

Comments

Regarding the Tom Daley comment, your comments actually justify Tom's being bisexual. He claims he didn't know until he met DLB and while many speculated about Tom's sexuality, there have not been all kinds of rampant reports "I was Tom's first boyfriend" or "Tom's long time ex boyfriend revealed," Tom may ahve discovered his swinging both ways when he met DLB. Personally I'm not sure how much of the Tom Daley story is a publicity stunt. There's no question he got out in front of a story that was about to be revealed and it might have been different than what we have seen. It also hasn't hurt DLB who was fading into oblivion (with the exception of film buffs, does anyone outside the gay community know who DLB is?)

Conner may be at an in between stage as you suggest, but in the football world my guess is that if you are not straight, gay and bi means the same thing, so no matter what it's brave.

We need more sports men like him, this type of guys make history go forward 

Jake, there are as many variations of sexual behavior as there are colors in the rainbow.  It is not up to you to decide if he is bi or gay.  If he says he is bi, accept him at his word.  If he later decides to be in one end or the other of the spectrum, then that is his decision and only his to make!

Alan Gendreau was out in college. But but good for Connor! 

Yea but Alan is a little fame whore that would do anything to get his name the topic of conversation, he's pretty annoying.

First Tom Daley and now Conner.  Considering how many of us have gone through this "bisexual" phase when first coming out, makes me wonder how far we've actually come.
Having had sex with both sexes doesn't make one bisexual.  It still smack of homophobia to think that somehow bisexual is more palatable than homosexual.   
I do know some bisexual individuals but as they would tell it, they actually came to that realization much later in life. They initially identified as homosexual before falling in love with an opposite gender person and realizing they could be attracted to and in love with both genders.
I'm not saying this to slam Conner in any way but just to put it in perspective.

This is awesome. Good on him. Fuck all the hating shit smears...

A lovely story, though a note to the editor - we are in 2014, not 204.

Be proud of who you are Conner and stand for those other sports-persons who are perhaps experiencing the struggle and anxiety to also come out. 

So there may be some backlash from some because he's only a Division III player and others because he states he's bi. well, unless you're an out Division I or II player, which you're not if he's the only out college football player, you really can't comment. If you object to his saying he's bi while having a boyfriend, it shouldn't matter to you unless you're the guy and he dumps you for a girl, which still would be fine since he' bi.

Now if you object to the fact he tells his coach "I like dudes"and you believe the word dude is the most overused word in the English language, I'll probably agree with you, but if he's a freshman he's only about 19, and dude is a favorite word in the high school/college lexicon so cringe but forgive, but respect his courage.

We love you and we support you!!

Awe!! Good for you!! Congrtulations. Godbless you!!

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