Bradley Kim becomes first active football player at a service academy to come out as gay
Bradley Kim is the first active football player at a US military service academy to come out as gay.
Kim, who plays defensive back at the Air Force Academy, came out in an interview with OutSports on Friday.
“The biggest reason I want to share this is to be able to reach people who are in similar situations struggling with the same things I have struggled with,” he told OutSports.
“I want to be that example for kids that you can be gay, you can pursue your dreams, and you can have an athletic career. My dreams got me to a D1 football program. I want to be there for people who don’t feel like they have anyone there for them, because I was that kid growing up in high school.”
Before coming out publicly, the Seattle-based football player told his parents and some of his teammates about his sexuality, which all supported him, adding that his he fellow defensive backs gave him a standing ovation.
In a statement to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Air Force Academy said: “The academy strives to foster a culture where everyone gives and receives dignity and respect so that each individual has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
Kim told OutSports that the support he had received from his teammates and coaches at the academy helped him in his decision to come out to the public.
He said: ““They tell me they appreciate the fact that I felt confident enough, and they meant enough, for me to tell them.”
Kim added: “I’ve spent too many years worrying what other people will think and letting it affect what I do in my daily life.
“And I’m kind of done with that. It doesn’t affect my ability to play football. It doesn’t affect my ability to serve my country. No one cares here. We all go through the same thing, we all go through basic training. What we go through going through the Academy goes way deeper than worrying about what someone will think.”
There are five service academies in the US, including the Air Force Academy, which train officers for the United States Armed Forces and have a number of sports teams that recruits can play in.
According to The Washington Post, Kim shared his coming out story on Instagram, quoting a Bible verse, but has since made his social media accounts private.
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Kim missed much of last year’s season due to a shoulder injury. However, he reportedly posted on Instagram in May that he made a full recovery and is fit to play.
He also said that he given advice by Conner Mertens, a former Willamette University player football player, who came out as bisexual in 2014, becoming the first active college football player to come out at any level in America.
There are very few active American football players in the US.
Although six former National Football League (NFL) footballers have come out, there has been no publicly out active player in the NFL.
In the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, there are two actively gay players: Scott Frantz and My-King Johnson.