One of college football’s oldest programs has its first openly gay player.
Princeton offensive lineman Mason Darrow told Outsports.com in a story posted on Tuesday that he is gay. Darrow, of Lake Barrington, Illinois, said everything has gone well at home and school since he came out to his teammates and coaches.
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"People will surprise you," he 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 is believed to be the only openly gay player in major college football right now. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound junior is expected to play in the Tigers’ opener Saturday at Lafayette.
Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year, said he was gay after his college career ended. Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin came out last year before his final season with the Sun Devils.
"I want to show people you can be gay and play Division I football," Darrow told Outsports.com. "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."
Darrow played in three games last season before sustaining a major knee injury. His older brother, Mack, played basketball for Princeton.
"I think if you ask anybody on the team, they’ll tell you he’s a terrific teammate," Tigers football coach Bob Surace said of Mason Darrow.
Fellow offensive lineman Jack Knight said he knew Darrow for five or six months before he came out.
"And I knew he was a great person, a great guy. It was a non-factor," Knight told the website. "It’s like, that’s your personal life, that’s for you and that’s for me to respect."