It was just last week when Willamette University kicker Conner Mertens announced he is bisexual, becoming the first college football player to publicly identify as a member of the LGBT community while still active in his sport.
Chandler Whitney says he wanted to come out to his teammates, he just didn’t know how or when.
“I’d been planning to do it at some point anyway,” Whitney told Outsports, “and seeing the reaction to Conner’s story calmed me down.”
Last week, when Whitney’s team gathered for the first practices of the new year, talk turned to stories from winter break. Because he’d spent much of the break with Mertens, Whitney felt the time was now. He stood up in front of the team, said he had contemplated whether to tell them a secret or not, and shared a “confession” he’d been holding back from them since they first met: “I’m gay.”
Article continues below“You know that college football player at Willamette who came out?” He asked his teammates. “I’m dating that guy.”
Witney said the team broke into spontaneous applause.
In the days since he came out to his team, Whitney said he has experienced no change from his teammates. Nobody shies away from him in or out of the locker room. It’s business as usual.