“The end to my football career was bittersweet, because I finally felt it was time to stop hiding who I was. I started talking to guys using online dating apps to possibly meet with others who identified themselves as gay. Once I even brought a guy around my teammates, but we were super discreet.”
I always told myself I’d come out my freshman year of college. Playing Division I football put that on hold.
Growing up I thought being different was normal. I realized that I was attracted to guys in elementary school, but it wasn’t until about eight grade taking sex education classes that I knew it for sure. Being involved with sports, I thought it would be best to keep that side of me hidden, only to avoid conflict with my teammates. Not that I cared about what they thought, I just thought it didn’t need to be announced because it wasn’t relevant to getting the job done for winning a game. While it may have avoided some kind of conflict, internally that did a number on me.
I was always really good at sports because I am, well, very fast. I started out as a sprinter, and every year in high school I broke a school record in at least one event. I ran the 100m dash, 200m dash, and all the sprint relays.
In high school I was introduced to the game of football. At first it took me a while to get the hang of it; I still remember not even knowing how to hold a football. The quarterback would just give me the ball and, because I was fast enough, I just ran to the edge of the field and cut up field and scored constantly using the same exact play.
By my junior year I had the game of football down. I developed enough skills that I got noticed by multiple college football and track coaches from some pretty big universities. My senior year I rushed for 1,900 yards, scored 28 touchdowns and was the offensive MVP of my 7 4a district in Dallas/Fort Worth. I was also an all-state running back in Texas.
That got me an invitation to play for Louisiana Tech.
As a true freshman at Louisiana Tech I was given the shot to play along side two other great running backs – Tevin King and Kenneth Dixon. Being a true freshman playing in front of packed stadiums holding over 40,000 people was exhilarating. Yet something was eating at me.
In high school I told myself I’d come out my freshman year in college. I didn’t want to let myself down. So after becoming really close to one of my teammates I felt we were close enough that he could be the first person I told. Before I told him I wanted to see how he would react, so I asked how he would feel having a gay teammate.
“Dude are you serious?” He said. “That’s gross. I’d tell everyone on our team and make him want to quit.”
I pushed the pause button on my commitment to come out.
You can read the rest of Brandon’s story here at Outsports.com