TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State offensive lineman Edward Sarafin has told a local magazine he is gay, making him the first active Division I football player to come out.
A fifth-year senior, Sarafin told Phoenix-based Compete, a magazine for gay sports, that he began telling teammates about his sexual orientation last spring.
"It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly," he said in the magazine's August issue.
The walk-on lineman, who goes by the nickname Chip, follows the precedent set by St. Louis Rams linebacker Michael Sam. Sam told teammates he was gay during his playing days, but did not come out publicly until after finishing his career at Missouri.
Massachusetts sophomore Derrick Gordon became the first active openly-gay Division I basketball player when he came out in April.
Brooklyn Nets forward Jason Collins became the first active openly-gay player in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues when he came out to Sports Illustrated in April 2013. He became the first openly-gay player to play in an NBA game after signing with the Nets last season.
Numerous other athletes have come out as gay the past couple of years, opening the door for players like Sarafin to do it without much fear of repercussions from teammates or coaches.
"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him," Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson said in a statement.
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