This is another HUGE step forward for the world of sports!!!
Just weeks after Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay male athlete in a major US sport, sophomore forward Jallen Messersmith has followed suit to become the first, active gay player in men's college basketball!
The shot blocker out of Benedictine College said he had kept his secret under wraps for years when he finally decided to share the news with the world:
"I didn't want something that was such a big part of what I am to be hidden. I wanted it to be something I was out about, I was proud of being and that people accepted me more. I did not want that to be hidden for the rest of my life."
Jallen started off by telling his coaches first and then telling his teammates individually and he says they ALL had his back:
"They were there 100% for me. They said it would not make any difference in the way the team was run. And they wanted to make sure it wouldn't change my experience at the school. That was awesome. After that, I felt like I could do anything."
Now that he's shared the news with all of his family and friends, he says nothing can bring him down:
"You've just got to be comfortable with yourself. I wasn't very comfortable with myself for a long time and then when I was, if you put off the confidence and you are 100% comfortable when you tell someone, they will support you. They can't, as much as they can try, drag you down. It's all about you. It's what you think. If you are comfortable with yourself, you can do anything."
How great is that! Jallen says he's been comfortable enough to bring his boyfriends to basketball games this past season and even jokes that he's had more dates than any of the guys on the team! Ha!
We're SO SO SO happy more athletes are stepping forward ad showing that being an openly gay athlete can be a GOOD thing!!
Way to go, Jallen!
[Image via Facebook.]
Tags: basketball, benedictine college, come out, gay, gay gay gay, inspiration, jallen messersmith, kansas, men039s college basketball, zportz