College Football Has Its First Openly Gay Player, And It's About Time


A 17-year-old high school senior is set to make history.

After signing on to play at the University of Arizona next fall, My-King Johnson will soon become the first openly gay player in college football.

On his status as a trailblazer, Johnson, who "came out" when he was 12 years old, told AZ Central,

I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back, but whatever.

Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive lineman from Tempe. He signed a letter of intent with the Arizona Wildcats after rescinding a verbal commitment he gave to UCLA.

Though Johnson, as a history-maker, will be different from his teammates, his future coach says he will be coached the same. Wildcats assistant coach Vince Amey was told the AZ Central,

Look, you are who you are, I am who I am, and I'm going to coach you the same way. I'm going to treat you the same way. I'm going to get on you the same way as everybody else. There's no difference. You do what you do.

Prior to Johnson, that has only been one football player that came out publicly while in college. That was Michael Sam, who revealed he was gay in February 2014.

That was after the former Missouri standout had completed his final college football season, however. Johnson is the first player to be openly gay and on current scholarship.

While Johnson himself appears to have a nonchalant attitude toward the news, his mother showed signs of concern to AZ Central.

She said,

It's hard enough being a black kid in America Then I worry about him being a football jock, then I worry about him being gay because it's still not so accepted. Everybody perceives him as a dumb jock because he is a football star, which he's not, but then you're gay and a football player? That's not heard of yet, and maybe it's still not accepted in the football world.

Hopefully, the next couple years will prove she has nothing to worry about.

Citations: The Guardian