(This story was published in 2007).
By: Ross Forman
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Goslin is a trailblazer, leading an uncharted path with a football in one hand, his baseball glove and aluminum bat in the other.
He was a two-sport athlete here at Washington University who graduated this past December. He played three years of football for Washington, an NCAA Division III school following a year on the Hillsdale (Mich.) College club. Goslin also played one year of baseball for Washington and two at Hillsdale.
“There were ups and downs (playing football for Washington). I remember the journey more than individual games. The spring practices. The lifting with the guys. Those bonding moments,” said Goslin, 23, born and raised in Troy, Mich.
And all along his sporting journey, Goslin was gay. And out.
Goslin, openly gay while active, did what no professional athlete from any of the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey) has ever done. And the number of openly gay college athletes from the big-four can be counted on one hand – with spare fingers.
“One of the really cool things is, the overall support I’ve received,” since coming out, said Goslin, whose story was first told on ESPN.com. “In fact, some people who I didn’t think would take it very well have actually come out with me to the gay bars and have had fun (at the bars).
“I was worried at first (about coming out). I didn’t come out at Hillsdale because it was a really conservative place, yet I’ve had no problems here. Even now, I thought it would be hard going from player to a volunteer coach. I didn’t know if the players would listen to me. Would I get disrespected (because I’m gay)? But I have not had a problem with anybody. I don’t know if the response to me would have been any different (from the players) had I played elsewhere, but I hope not.”
Goslin, a 6-1, 205-pound defensive lineman, started opening up about his sexuality in January 2005 after his first football season, and it spread across campus, including to his football and baseball teammates.
“A lot were fascinated with the fact I was gay; they didn’t understand (that I was gay) though they didn’t object,” he said. “I think it was good that they saw how (well) I played my first (football) season (at Washington).
“It’s a little nerve-racking (coming out) because you never know how it’s going to go. You hear rumors about how athletes aren’t very supportive and are very homophobic. But, since I came out, I’ve never had one problem.
“I don’t really have worries since coming out; I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m more worried about finding a job in athletics.”
Goslin is now a volunteer coach for the Bears, dreaming of landing his ultimate job: as commissioner for the Big Ten or Pacific-10 Conference. Or even the NFL.
And what about an openly gay athlete from one of the big four pro sports?
“It definitely could happen; it just has to be a superstar first because no one is going to sacrifice him (just because he comes out),” Goslin said. “If it’s [someone like a] Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) or Tracy McGrady, it wouldn’t matter that the player was gay because of what he brings to the game.”
Goslin said it likely would be easier for a basketball player to come out while active, despite the hateful comments from former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway following John Amaechi’s revelation that he was gay, because he’d only have 11 teammates to deal with as opposed to, say, pro football teams where there are 53 players on the roster.
“Teammates, if you give them a chance, will be accepting. I say that based on my case; coming out has been such a positive experience,” Goslin said. “And, if you’re a professional athlete, I think coming out would be lucrative for you.”