Although rumors have long suggested that an NFL player is about to come out as queer, Alan Gendreau would like to shatter the pro sports closet by being the first player to enter the league as gay.
The 23-year-old former Middle Tennessee State kicker completed his college career two years ago and was open then about his sexual orientation and is hoping to make it to the pros this season. Gendreau, who also identifies as Christian, opens up to OutSports about his journey.
Gendreau slept with a Bible next to his bed as a child. “I used to flip to the back to see if the Bible defined homosexuality,” he said.
Coming out at 15, he never hid his orientation from family and friends, even while playing for the Blue Raiders from 2008-2011.
“Everyone just saw him as a football player,” Josh Davis, a former teammate remembered. “He was just one of the guys. The fact that he proved himself on the field, there was a respect for him. He’s a good guy. He’s a lot of fun to be around. With all the coaches and players, he had a good relationship.”
Has the landscape changed enough for Gendreau to become the first openly gay pro footballer? Minnesota Vikings punter and equality advocate Chris Kluwe thinks so.
“It’s totally legit that he can get into the league,” Kluwe told OutSports. “Place-kicking is all about doing this one specific skill set. And if you can do that, you can make it whether you’ve been out of football for one year or 10 years.”