In an in-depth profile with Outsports.com, Princeton offensive lineman Mason Darrow came out as gay. He is currently the only openly gay football player in Division I.
Darrow came out to teammate Caleb Slate on Nov. 7, 2013, and word spread from there within the team. But it didn’t go national until Darrow’s profile went live on Tuesday. “The only prerequisite to being on a football team is that you work hard. This isn’t going to bother people if you tell them,” Slate told Darrow.
“Telling my teammates was the best decision I have ever made,” Darrow told the site.
Darrow decided over the summer he wanted to take his story public, and told head coach Bob Surace he wanted to come out the week before the Tigers’ season opener (Princeton opens its season at Lafayette on Saturday.) Surace supported Darrow’s decision.
“Here at Princeton, if we can’t handle this and say, ‘we’re supportive of everybody no matter what their background, religion, race or sexual orientation,’ then we don’t have the right guys in the locker room,” Surace .”We’re going to support Mason 100%.”
Darrow follows former Missouri defensive end and SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam among college football players to come out, though Sam did not make his declaration until his playing days at Mizzou were complete.
A native of Barrington, Ill., Darrow played in three games in 2014 before suffering a season-ending ACL tear against Columbia. He is expected to be in the Tigers’ offensive line rotation this fall.