Edward "Chip" Sarafin, a backup senior offensive lineman for Arizona State University, has come out publicly as gay. He is the only known publicly out player in major college football.
Sarafin told his story to Phoenix-based Compete magazine, a publication for gay sports. The article by Joshua Wyrick focused on Sarafin's educational studies in biomedical engineering with his goal of becoming a neurologist and on his volunteer work. One of his areas of research is making helmets safer to help prevent concussions.The part of Sarafin being gay is addressed in an oh-by-the-way manner near the end.
He came out to his Sun Devils teammates last spring, saying, "it was really personal for me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly."
Sarafin, 6-6, 320 pounds, is a walk-on player (meaning he did not get a scholarship) and has never appeared in a game. He is not even listed on the team's depth chart.
There have been other major college football players who have been openly gay on their teams -- Michael Sam was one at Missouri last year -- but if Sarafin ever plays, he would be the first gay player to tell his story to the media while in school. Regardless, Sarafin is a brilliant student and his teammates can say they practiced with a gay athlete.
Sam tweeted this:
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
Update: Arizona State coach Todd Graham issued this statement:
"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way. 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."
Athletic Director Ray Anderson:
"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him. His undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, his pursuit of a master's in the same field, his research involving football-related concussions, and his heavy involvement in the community with both youth sports in Arizona and the Tillman Scholars embodies all the characteristics that set our student-athletes apart and allows our university to maintain an environment of inclusiveness and progression."