PictureInspired by Jason Collins, 25-year-old Virginia native, Kevin Grayson, spoke to a local CBS news affiliate WTVR yesterday to announce to the world that he’s gay. What makes this a big deal is Grayson is not only an average masculine Black man, he’s also a professional athlete and local legend in community. As a football wide receiver, Kevin won championships in High School, College and in the Pros.


“People didn’t believe it because I was an athlete,” Grayson said in the interview. “They’re like ‘Kevin plays football, he plays basketball, he runs track – no way, you know?”Recognizing that he’s going against the stereotypes, 205 lbs 6’ 3” tall Grayson went on to say, “Those are the types of things where if I could go back and say; ‘Why can’t I be an athlete? Why can’t I be a star player? Why can’t I be the guy making plays that help my team win, and still on the flip side, be a gay male?’”


But he wasn’t just any athlete, Kevin was a great one. As a high school senior he served as team captain, earned All-Region honors and was named a Second Team All-State and All-Metro wide receiver. At the University of Richmond, Kevin amassed record yardage on the field and helped his team win the National Championship in 2008. After college, the bilingual player signed overseas with the Italian Football League, The Parma Panthers, where he helped them win an Italian Super Bowl title in 2011.Kevin did all that while remaining discreet, keeping his private life private. According to him, he wasn’t really in the closet, per say. There were friends, family and other players that knew about his sexuality. He chose not to make public announcements, not out of fear or embarrassment, but actually because he didn’t want to take the focus away from his team and the game.“You don’t want to be the focus in that way,” Grayson said. “Not to say that it’s a negative, but when you have people just asking questions about your sexuality and how teammates are taking it, it takes away from the importance of the preseason.

“If you are an athlete, you want to be an athlete; you want to be known for what you’ve done on the basketball court, football field, tennis court, whatever. You don’t want to be that person who is always ‘the “gay” athlete.’”


In fact, Kevin’s like a lot of us, just a regular guy. “I am a simple guy, like hanging out with friends, playing football, watching movies, bowling, love dogs, and just live life to the fullest potential I can.“Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you can’t be the athlete you want to be. Doesn’t mean you can’t be a star. Doesn’t mean you can’t go out there and go just as hard as anybody else, if not harder.”In the interview he goes on to reveal that not only are there many other gay pro athletes out there, he knows a few of them. But he says, “It’s one of those things where you meet someone and you find out about something it’s a ‘you take it to the grave’ type thing.”

Not surprising, when he told some fellow teammates about himself over the years, he would discover that many of them were gay as well. Although he did have to tolerate some indirect homophobic comments made by teammates and coaches, he never took offense to it because they were never directed towards him personally.

“You know, it’s like [they would say] ‘Stop being a princess, stop being a faggot’ you know – ‘Homo!’…While you’re in the football aspect of it, no one is really thinking about it. Hyper-masculine sport. You have coaches that are, I guess, just naive to the fact that they could have a gay player in their meeting,” he said. ”A couple of times I laughed at it. I thought it was funny to think about whether or not if I told this coach, what would they say?”
Seems like every week we’re seeing stories like this of masculine men coming out and shaking things up in the world. Many homophobic people think that there are more gays now than there were 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. I’ve always rebutted that the same number of gays have always existed, it’s only now becoming more of a socially acceptable environment for these men to make their sexual orientation public.Even if a person doesn’t desire to put out a press release, we always suggest telling at least a handful of people that you trust. Kevin confessed that the pressure to hide from everyone became unbearable, “It’s that extra pressure that you can’t even remotely show something that would lead someone to suspect you,” he said. “So it makes it ten times harder.

“[Once I told a few teammates] it’s like the biggest weight lifted off your shoulder. To know that you have a teammate that basically says ‘I don’t care.’”

– Nick D