I hope people read the article we posted this week on Vincent Pryor, the TCU player who came out as gay to his team in 1994 and then set a school record for sacks in a game. His story is amazing and demolishes the idea that it's not possible for an openly gay man to play football.
Pryor went to Texas Christian University. And came out. In 1994. As a defensive starter. And his team was OK with it. And then he had 4 1/2 sacks against Texas Tech, setting a school record and helping the Horned Frogs to their first bowl game in 10 years. Mull this over the next time you hear someone on TV or in print clutch their pearls and talk about how "impossible" it would be. Difficult? Yes. Impossible. Hardly.
Pryor contacted us a few weeks ago and laid the outlines of his story. At first I was a bit skeptical, wondering how such a cool story could have gone unnoticed. I interviewed Pryor, a social work professor at TCU and two of his teammates and they told a wonderful tale. I loved this comment on how he became a better player once he came out:
When you’re closeted and you’re not truly who you are, you’re not operating at 100 percent. If you could be free to be who you are, not only will you find people appreciate what you bring to the table because now you’re operating at 100 percent, but people will respect you more. At 100 percent, there’s no telling what you can accomplish.
When I asked why he waited so long to tell his story, Pryor had no great answer, other than he was out to those important to him and had moved on with his life. But he finally, with the prodding of his partner Alan Detlaff, felt he wanted to make a difference.
When I looked at Outsports I would never see anyone who was a football player. I know I’m not the only Division 1 football player who happened to be gay.
He's not and hope that in the future more Vincent Pryor's will come forward.