Pro basketball player Jason Collins made the announcement that he was gay just a month ago. Now a college basketball player is following in those courageous footsteps. Jallen Messersmith came out a year ago on a more private level when he discussed his personal sexual orientation with teammates and coaches. Now he is taking matters a step further by being honest with the world about the fact that he is a happy, proud and openly gay athlete.
“The big thing for me, why I wanted to do it, before the whole Jason Collins thing, is there weren’t a lot of basketball-related stories like this,” Messersmith said. “When I started coming out, I didn’t have anyone to look to for advice or to see how their story went. People can look to see what happened to me – and there are positive things going on.” –
According to reports, his story was told to teammates before Jason Collins told his story in a Sports Illustrated cover story.
“I didn’t want to draw a ton of attention,” Messersmith said. “I was going to be gay and have this side of basketball. I wanted it to be that I was still a basketball player who just happened to be gay.”
The news was revealed on the Outsports.com website this past Tuesday. The Benedictine College student stated that there was some anxiety as he waited for public response to his announcement.
According to Messersmith ever since the posting of the report he has been the recipient of positive comments and supportive feedback. Now he is hopeful that his stand will help other teens and young adults who are currently struggling with their own sexuality issues.
While Jallen Messersmith is no longer active in any church he does attend school at a college which has strong Catholic affiliations.
The official stance of both the college and the Roman Catholic Church is to treat homosexuals with sensitivity, understanding and respect.
Said the school in a statement yesterday:
“We support Jallen as a Benedictine College student and as a member of the Raven basketball team. Obviously, it would be inappropriate for us to discuss the private lives of students. As an institution we treat all students with respect and sensitivity.”
The church still condemns homosexual practices. Prior to enrolling at Benedictine College Messersmith was reared in a Mormon household. This religion also condemns homosexuality but Jallen states his family remains extremely protective and supportive of him.
Messersmith’s story in Outsports.com was posted a month after Collins came out as the NBA’s first openly gay active player, breaking the news in a Sports Illustrated article.
Messersmith tells the New York Daily News, he was interviewed by Outsports.com before the Collins story broke.
“He wasn’t a buffer for me,” Messersmith said, adding that just about everyone at 2,000-student Benedictine knew his sexual orientation months ago. He said he had not corresponded with Collins.
“It’s awesome to have another person in my sport to come out (nationally) beforehand,” Messersmith said.
Jallen Messersmith believed to be college basketball’s first openly gay player