On Wednesday, Edward “Chip” Sarafin came out as the first openly gay Division I football player. An offensive lineman for the Arizona State Sun Devils, Sarafin had come out to his team a year before. Sarafi said that telling his teammates was something “really personal,” adding, “[It] benefited my peace of mind greatly.”
However, it was not until this week that the news went public in an interview with a local gay sports magazine, Compete. Joshua Wyric, the managing editor of the magazine, told USA Today, “He didn’t seem ashamed by it at all. He said that when he came out to his teammates, he couldn’t have imagined that it would’ve been more of a non-issue.”
But while it may not have seemed like a big deal for Sarafin, Juan Roque, former NFL player and current analyst for Fox Sports Arizona applauded Sarafin’s actions for the big impact they may have. “I think that it is necessary for this to be news, because it starts to tear the walls down,” he said. “It starts to make it not a big deal.”
Sarafin’s announcement comes the same year Michael Sam became the first openly gay NFL player. In July, Sam was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage awardat the ESPYs for the courage he has shown and the example he has set for other athletes in the country.
Sam reached out to congratulate Sarafin on Twitter, saying:
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
Unlike Sam, Sarafin has no intention of going into the NFL. Instead, he is getting his masters in Biomedical Engineering, researching football-related concussions.