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Arizona State lineman comes out as first openly gay college football player

Arizona State senior offensive lineman Chip Sarafin has publicly revealed that he is gay, becoming the first active major college football player to do so.

The 320-pounder came out in an article for Compete, a Tempe-based LGBT publication.

Sarafin, who has already graduated with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering, told the magazine that he came out to his teammates in the spring before going public now.

"It was really personal to me," he said, "and it benefited by peace of mind greatly."

The magazine incorrectly identified Sarafin as an outside linebacker while the official roster on the Arizona State athletics site lists him as an offensive lineman. 

The Arizona State University athletic department came out in support of Sarafin with  Sun Devil Vice President of Athletics Ray Anderson and Football Head Coach Todd Graham making supportive statements.

"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him," Vice President of University Athletics Ray Anderson said. "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 sets our student-athletes apart and allows our university to maintain an environment of inclusiveness and progression."

The six-foot-six redshirt senior also received support from his coach.

"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way," head coach Todd Graham said. "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."

Michael Sam, who became the first openly-gay football player to be drafted this past May, tweeted out support for Sarafin.

 

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

Sarafin has yet to play for the Sun Devils. 

Brant can be reached at bparsons@orlandosentinel.com. Follow Brant on Twitter @brantparsons

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