Alan Gendreau, 23, is an openly gay kicker who's gunning for the NFL.
In an exclusive interview with Outsports, the “worldwide leader in gay sports news,” Gendreau gave a candid look into his life and experience as an openly gay college athlete, saying that he had never been met with homophobic sentiments from his teammates.
“Being gay and playing football, there’s no contradictions,” Gendreau, who’s been out of the closet since age 15, told Outsport’s Cyd Zeigler.
Blue Raiders holder and team punter Josh Davis spoke about playing with his openly gay teammate, saying: “Everyone just saw him as a football player. He was just one of the guys. The fact that he proved himself on the field, there was a respect for him.”
The 5-foot, 10-inch kicker played with high distinction from 2008 to 2011 in his time with the Raiders, becoming the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, racking up 295 points throughout his entire career.
“Right now, looking back when I’m 40, I can’t say I gave it my best shot,” he said. “I can’t say I really tried to make it into the NFL. Lasty year I did it half-assed. If I don’t give it everything I have now, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.”
Gendreau’s aspirations come at a time where there’s been increased discussion about homophobia in male team sports and if there ever will be an active openly gay athlete in any of the four major sports leagues.
The New York Jets and Carolina Panthers are the only teams that are most likely to draft a kicker this year. If Gendreau makes it, he doesn’t want his sexuality to be the only thing he’s known for.
“I’m a kicker that happens to be gay,” Gendreau told the New York Times. “It’s a part of who I am, and not everything I am. I just want to be known as a normal kicker.”
On Tuesday, Ayanbadejo took his support for gay marriage to South Florida, speaking about the impact of his work and how professional athletes are looked up by so many.
“I think the star power, especially with athletes, allows us to hit a demographic. ... I think this allows us to have our voice reach a little bit deeper to people who wouldn't normally hear our message."
And that impact and potential influence is something Gendreau recognizes.
“My whole thing in this is just to help anybody who is struggling with coming out,” Gendreau told the New York Times. “I want people to know that I didn’t have a problem with it, and they shouldn’t either.”
Watch the Outsports exclusive interview with Gendreau below: