Former NFL prospect Brad Thorson
publicly came out gay over the Fourth of July holiday.
“As an athlete, I've struggled to
accept my sexuality. Today, I'm proud to share who I am,” Thorson
tweeted July 4 along with a link to a coming out blog post.
In his blog post, Thorson, who played
for Wisconsin and Kansas from 2006-2010 and was briefly with the
Arizona Cardinals, said he was inspired to act by Michael Sam, the
NFL's first openly gay player, Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly
gay player, and out Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, who played college
Sam didn't speak to boyfriend Vito Cammisano for two years.)
“If not for the strength of athletes
like Jason Collins, Michael Sam and Brian Sims, I would likely still
be struggling with my own cognitive dissonance,” Thorson wrote.
“Each of their stories reinforced the truth that there is nothing
wrong with being a competitive athlete and gay. Just as their
stories helped me come to understand and accept myself, I've gotten
to a point in my life where I hope to help someone else to understand
his or her identity as a gay athlete.”
Thorson told the Topeka
Capital-Journal that he had put off publishing his post for
months over fears of a backlash but has instead received overwhelming
“It's honestly the opposite of what I
expected. I expected a lot of silence, but it's been the exact
opposite. The fact that I can't even recall all the people today
alone who have just sent congratulation-type messages is
Thorson also shared an email he
received from his father stating that he was “shocked” to learn
his son was gay.
“It is quite amazing to me how
blindly bigoted I have allowed myself to be and for what?”
father wrote. “I think we fear what we don't fully understand.
Like the monster under the bed, there's really nothing there to be
afraid of! I have always and will always be the biggest advocate
(except for your mom) for my kids.”