Willamette University football player Conner Mertens came out as bisexual in an extensive profile on Outsports.com Jan 28, becoming the first openly LGBT American college football player.
Mertens came out to his coach and his team about his boyfriend, a college baseball player, on Monday (Jan 27).
According to Outsports journalist Cyd Zeigler, no American men’s professional sports league has had as many former players come out of the closet as the NFL. Despite this, not a single active NFL or college player has been out to the public while playing. Mertens is a freshman kicker, and has not actually played a game with the Willamette Bearcats, but he is the first openly LGBT player on a team roster.
Mertens told Outsports that the support from his coach and team have been inspiring.
"Coach didn't blink an eye," he says. "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."