Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin became the first active openly gay college football player in Division I after he came out in a recent interview. A 6-foot-6, 320-pound fifth-year senior, Sarafin reportedly came out to his teammates before he went public, similar to St. Louis Rams and former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam. However Sam did not come out to the world until after his final season with the Tigers.
During the interview with Compete Magazine, a monthly LGBT sports publication based in Tempe, Arizona, Sarafin reportedly said, “It was really personal to me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly."
Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham swung his full support behind Sarafin, and called “diversity” and “acceptance” pillars of his program.
"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way," Graham said in a statement. "Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master's student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff."
Sam also expressed his support for Sarafin’s announcement.
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014
â€” Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
According to the Sun Devils official site, Sarafin graduated with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering in the spring, and along with active community service he’s part of a group researching football equipment and how it relates to head injuries suffered during a game. Now a master’s student, Sarafin has largely played as a reserve on the offensive line since he joined Arizona State as a true freshman in 2010. Sarafin is now the second gay college athlete playing in the country, following UMass sophomore basketball player Derrick Gordon, who also came out in an interview with ESPN and Outsports in April.