Incoming Arizona defensive end My-King Johnson will become the first openly gay Division I football player when he steps on the field this season.

By SI Wire
February 25, 2017

Incoming Arizona defensive end My-King Johnson will become the first openly gay Division I football player when he steps on the field this season.

Johnson, in an interview with the Arizona Daily Star, says he came out to friends and family at age 12. He came out to Wildcats coaches during the recruitment process and says he felt encouraged by their support.

“I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back,” Johnson said, regarding his openness about his sexuality. “But whatever.”

Johnson was a highly-regarded recruit who flipped commitments from UCLA to Arizona before signing with the Wildcats.

Other football players have come out in the past, but Johnson is the earliest to open up publicly, and the first scholarship player to do so. 

Esera Tuaolo came out in 2002 after an eight-year NFL career, and notably, Missouri’s Michael Sam came out in the run-up to the 2014 NFL Draft. Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin and Princeton’s Mason Darrow, both walk-ons, came out in 2015.

Read the full feature here.

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