Princeton offensive lineman Mason Darrow has come out as the only openly gay player in Division 1 college football after announcing he was gay in an interview with Outsports.com.
According to Yahoo Sports the 6’5″ 285 pound junior from Lake Barrington, Ill., said that he was most concerned with the reaction he would receive, but that so far it’s been very positive.
“People will surprise you,” Darrow said. “I was definitely concerned that people, teammates, would react poorly. I think in this day and age people really just don’t care about it. It’s really not a big deal anymore.”
Darrow told Outsports.com that, “I want to show people you can be gay and play Division I football. If that’s going to help some sophomore in Arizona come out to his teammates and be comfortable in himself, that’s the reason I’m doing it.”
Jack Knight, Darrow’s roommate, was surprised but supportive, saying, “He’s a great guy. I live with him now. I’ve known him for three years. I see what he does off the field in the classroom. I know what he does on the field. I know he’s a very accountable person. He’s a hard-working person. And I know when I’m out on the field making a block that he’ll be right there with me making a hit as hard as he can.” (RELATED: Jason Collins Becomes First Active NBA Player To Come Out As Gay [VIDEO])
Princeton’s head coach Bob Surace has said the team is “100 percent supportive” of Darrow, and that, “here at Princeton, if we can’t handle this and say, ‘we’re supportive of everybody no matter what their background, religion, race or sexual orientation,’ then we don’t have the right guys in the locker room.”
According to Darrow, he has known that he was attracted to men since the 7th or 8th grade, but dated women because of pressure he felt to fit in because of the masculinity image he perceived as being attached to football.
Princeton’s season opener is Sept. 19 against Lafayette.
Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam famously came out as the first gay college football player last year before the 2014 NFL draft. Sam has failed to hang on with any NFL team, and has instead been trying to play in Canada for the Montreal Alouettes. (RELATED: Michael Sam — First Openly Gay NFL Player — Inks Deal To Play In Canadian Football League)