As if the story of Willamette University freshman Conner Mertens becoming the first openly LGBT college football player wasn’t enough, his boyfriend, college baseball player Chandler Whitney, has also come out.
College sports’ first gay couple, everybody!
Whitney, a outfielder for the Walla Walla Community College Warriors, tells OutSports that he’d “been planning to [come out] at some point anyway,” but decided to make it official after seeing the positive reaction his boyfriend’s story received.
“I’m gay,” he announced to his team in the locker room last week,” receiving “spontaneous applause.” “You know that college football player at Willamette who came out?”, he asked his teammates. “I’m dating that guy.”
Whitney, who describes himself as completely gay despite being “deeply closeted” for most of his adolescent life, expected “a guy or two to feel uncomfortable” with the news, and is surprised by the warm response he’s been getting on the field and in the locker room:
“Nobody’s weird about it. They still make the same jokes they did before, minus some choice words.”
He’s already heard one choice word come from a teammate since he shared his revelation with them. The teammate was quick to apologize.
“The immediate reaction from the guy who said it was something like, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m trying to get rid of that. It’s just a habit.’ I got on him a little bit. But I let the team know it’s OK and that they should just watch it. Time to focus on playing baseball.’”