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Gay athlete named sports trailblazer by University of Oklahoma

Tanner Williams is honored as part of an MLK Day video

Tanner Williams
University of Oklahoma Athletics

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the University of Oklahoma athletics department released a video honoring all-time sports trailblazers at the school. Among them was track and field athlete Tanner Williams, the first openly gay and married Division I athlete.

“Honored,” Williams told Outsports. “That's the only word that can express how deeply appreciative I am to be considered a trailblazer along with so many influential athletes and coaches from my university.”

The video recognized Williams as a trailblazer.

The video shows some of the greatest Sooner athletes who were trailblazers of some sort. It opens with this line: “In commemoration of the life and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we take a look back at some of those who have paved the way at the University of Oklahoma.”

Williams’ story first became known when he came out publicly on Outsports in 2015 talking about his marriage to his husband, Scott. Williams, 23, was a three-year letterman in the pole vault and was named a team captain. Now graduated, he majored in general management and hopes to become a government consultant.

It is wonderful that OU recognized an openly gay athlete as someone worthy of such distinction. As a religious person living in a deep red state, Williams has never shied away of being authentic.