Arizona football embraces My-King Johnson – DI football’s first openly gay scholarship athlete


>>RIGHT NOW TO US, IT’S JUST ANOTHER FRESH MAN. WE THOUGHT HE’S GOING TO RUSH THE PASSER. >>YOU’RE JUST A GUY, YOU’RE NOT PART 6 IT. WE’RE GOING TO LOOK SMATER THAN YOU.>>HE’S ONE OF THE GUYS. NOTHING ABOUT HIM THAT WOULD MAKE HIM ANYTHING OTHER THAN ONE OF OUR BROTHERS.>>PEOPLE SEE YOU AS A PIONEER, HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?>>YEAH, I CAN BE THE BIG ADDRESS. ME MAY NOT BE BEING MYSELF, IT’S NOT FACTS.>>WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO SIGN WITH ERIC JOHNSON. IT FELT LIKE EVERYBODY KNEW WHERE I WAS. >>HE CAME OUT AT AGE 12 AND BY THE TIME HE SIGNED WITH ARIZONA FIVE YEARS LATER HE WAS MAKING NATIONAL HEADLINES AS THE FIRST OPENLY GAY DIVISION I SCHOLARSHIP PLAYER. IT WAS ARIZONA DEFENSIVE LINE CO COACH.>>WE DIDN’T REALLY DISCUSS IT FOR A WHILE. I JUST KEPT RECRUITING THEM EVEN THOUGH I KNEW, I JUST KEPT RECRUITING THEM. FINALLY I WAS LIKE, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY. WE TALKED ABOUT 45 MINUTES. I SAID, LOOK, MAN, YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE. WE STILL WANT YOU TO BE A WILD CARD. >>IS THAT PART WORRIED OR NERVOUS FOR HIM NOT TO BE ABLE TO EMBARK ON. I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT THAT. IT’S GONNA BE HARD. NOBODY IS GOING TO LET ANYTHING HAPPEN AND JUST BE WHO HE IS AND NOT BE ASHAMED OF THAT. WORRY ABOUT IT MORE THAN THE YOUNGER GUYS. THEY’RE LIKE, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? THAT’S PRETTY NEAT. WE’RE NOT DOING THIS FOR ANYBODY OTHER THAN MY TEAM. THEY DON’T THINK YOUR STORY SHOULD BE A HAND AND YOU UNDERSTAND WHY.>>OF COURSE, MAGGIE. THERE WASN’T A BIG AMOUNT OF ME. B WE ALL HAVE TO SAY THAT’S A GOOD STORY. IT WILL BE AMAZING SOME DAY WHERE IT’S NOT A SHOCK. I GUESS THERE HAS TO BE A FIRST EVERYWHERE, RIGHT?>>THERE ARE PROBABLY A NUMBER OF KIDS WATCHING THIS. WHEREVER THEY ARE WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO COME OUT. WHAT WOULD YOUR MESSAGE BE?>>BE YOURSELF, REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THEM, THAT’S THEIR LOSS, NOT YOURS. >>THE ARIZONA DEFENSIVE END KNOWS HIS NAME WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD. WITH A NAME LIKE — THEY SAY THESE PARENTS ARE GIVING THESE KIDS THESE NAMES THAT THEY’RE NOT LIVING UP TO. I APPRECIATE MY NAME BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE YOU GAVE TO ME AS WELL. THE WHOLE GAY THING HAS TAKEN OVER. MY NAME WAS USED ON A BLEACHER REPORT. IT WAS ABOUT BEING ABLE TO MOVE A STYLE MANUFACTURER. I WANT YOU TO BE LIKE I AM DISAPPOINTING SOME PEOPLE. SO THAT WOULD PROBABLY WOULD BE WHAT MY BIGGEST FEAR IS. IT MEANS BEING BETTER MYSELF.

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