Arizona State football player Edward “Chip” Sarafin has publicly come out as gay. The redshirt senior made his announcement in an interview with Compete magazine. The 6’6″, 320-pound backup offensive lineman is believed to be the first active college football player at a Division I program to publicly come out as gay, according to Outsports.
Like openly gay NFL rookie Michael Sam, Sarafin came out to his teammates before the public. Sarafin revealed to the magazine that he began telling his teammates that he was gay last spring. Unlike Sam, who came out publicly after finishing his final season at the University of Missouri, Sarafin has a full college football season ahead of him after his announcement.
“It was really personal for me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly,” Sarafin told Joshua Wyrick of Compete, an Arizona-based gay sports magazine, for the article that appeared in its August issue.
A non-scholarship athlete, Sarafin has been a member of the Sun Devils football team for four years but yet to appear in a game, reports AZCentral.com. He has already received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and is pursuing a master’s degree.
“We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual’s commitment to the Sun Devil Way,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said in a statement obtained by CBS Sports. “Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master’s student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and his has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff.”
Sam, who became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft in May and is trying to earn a roster spot with St. Louis Rams, was prominent among those expressing support for Sarafin’s decision to come out:
In April, Derrick Gordon, then a sophomore starter for the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball team, publicly announced that he was gay. Gordon became the first active openly gay male NCAA Division 1 basketball player.