There are still no openly gay football players currently playing in the NFL, but there are seven openly gay or bi players competing at the college level, and one of them just got a shout-out from ESPN.
The athlete in the spotlight is Wyatt Pertuset, a wide receiver at Capital University, a Division III school near Columbus, Ohio.
On the September 21 episode ESPN’s Outside the Lines, sportscaster Bob Ley commended Pertuset for “the first touchdown scored by an openly gay college football player in any division” during the show’s “Underreported Story of the Week” segment.
“Look, God bless this kid,” Ley added. “He’s setting an outstanding example.”
Pertuset actually made the touchdown nearly three weeks prior, and Ley speculated the triumphant moment had been underreported because sports media is finally treating LGBT athletes as equals. “Maybe, all right, we acknowledge [it’s] not a big deal,” Ley mused. “We’ve moved beyond this. And there’s progress in that regard. So we salute him and say we have perspective.”
The 20-year-old, who came out as gay in high school, described the history-making touching in an interview with Outsports. “It was completely overwhelming,” he recalled. “It was on a scramble and I had to get open. Next thing you know, my quarterback, Thomas Wibbeler, connected with me in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. All of my teammates quickly came to celebrate with me in the end zone, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
And in a subsequent interview with the website, he expressed his appreciation of the ESPN segment. “It was a really cool sight to see,” he said. “It’s nice when you get noticed for doing something that you’ve worked so hard to do.”