Alan Gendreau would be the first openly gay player in the National Football League if his dream of being drafted comes true, but the former standout Middle Tennessee State kicker doesn’t want his homosexuality to define him.
"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."
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Gendreau, 23, a Florida native, graduated last year from MT State as the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history. Now a free agent, the devout Christian has his sights set on the NFL, a place that is still coming to terms with how to handle its players' sexuality.
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo revealed earlier this month that as many as four current football players are in talks to come out in the near future.
Following this statement, the NFL met with gay rights groups to discuss enacting policies to end homophobia and combat discrimination.
Cyd Zeigler, a co-founder of Outsports who wrote a lengthy feature on Gendreau recently
, doesn’t think being gay will affect Gendreau's chances of being drafted.
"NFL teams will do whatever will win games," Zeigler told the Times. "I don’t think being openly gay hurts or helps him. It might hurt him with one N.F.L. executive, or help him with another. But it won’t determine whether he gets a job."
Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of the pro-tolerance nonprofit Athlete Ally, said being gay could be help Gendreau in the NFL in the long run.
"We have seen time and time again that diversity is a benefit," Taylor told the Huffington Post. "It's a benefit in corporate America; it's a benefit in schools; and it's a benefit in sports. An athletic culture that welcomes and includes LGBT athletes will ultimately draw improved talent and create more unified and respectful team cultures."
If he were to land a spot on an NFL team, Gendreau hopes his experiences would help guide others in similar positions.
"My whole thing in this is just to help anybody who is struggling with coming out," Gendreau told the Times. "I want people to know that I didn’t have a problem with it, and they shouldn’t, either."
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