okonomiyaki saidSymbolically this is a fairly major deal. But he's a fifth-year senior who "has yet to play in a game." It's not as though he can also be lauded as somebody who made great contributions on the field, unlike Michael Sam. What did he have to lose at this stage in his academic career, after four years warming the bench? I'm not looking to take away from him that it took a lot of guts to out himself in the rah-rah party-school atmosphere that is ASU. (Was he dating - or perhaps "more" - coeds to have it be a secret all this time?) To say nothing of the realities of football culture. By the same token, it's not as if a first-string BMOC quarterback had bailed from the closet. We're getting to that point, though, faster and faster.
One similarity I found with Sam was this player wanted to quash the on-campus guessing and gossip. Even if someone's not a star, or even a starter, the "Psst... there's a gay guy on the football team, pass it on!" prevails across a locker room and a "party-school" college campus until said gay guy confirms it for everyone. This young man wanted "to own my own truth," as Sam famously said. And he's doing it in his own way and at the matter-of-fact scale he finds appropriate.
If he continues his current academic pursuit (the helmet research), his "contributions on the field" may one day eclipse Sam's without him ever taking a single snap.