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[bold]Gay N.F.L. Hopeful Hopes to Be Pioneer[/bold]
By JOHN BRANCH
Alan Gendreau would seem an unlikely pioneer. He is a former kicker for Middle Tennessee State, the leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history, a little-known 23-year-old who wants a shot at the N.F.L.
And he is gay.
Recent attention on the sooner-or-later milestone of an openly gay male athlete in a major American team sport has been spurred by a presumption: That the first will be a current professional athlete.
But those who have long tracked the issue have thought the more likely scenario would involve an already out athlete climbing through the college ranks to reach the N.F.L, N.B.A., N.H.L or Major League Baseball.
They thought it would be someone like Gendreau. And it might be, if and when he can secure an invitation to try out for a team in the coming months.
Gendreau’s motivation is not to become the first openly gay player in the N.F.L. It is simply to play in the N.F.L.
“I’m a kicker that happens to be gay,” Gendreau said on Tuesday. “It’s a part of who I am, and not everything I am. I just want to be known as a normal kicker.”
Gendreau’s story was detailed in a substantial feature and video released Tuesday by Outsports, a Web site devoted to the intersection of gays and sports. Cyd Zeigler, a co-founder of Outsports who wrote the story, said Gendreau is not looking for a spot in history.
“His goal is not to be the first,” Zeigler said. “His goal is to be who he is.”
Gendreau has been openly gay since high school in Apopka, Fla., and he did not disguise his sexuality when he arrived at Middle Tennessee State – which might have led to notoriety as the first out player in major college football, had anyone noted the historic cultural relevance.
As a freshman in college, Gendreau told his story to Outsports. But he did it anonymously, concerned about the impact on his family and afraid to hurt his professional prospects.
“My whole thing in this is just to help anybody who is struggling with coming out,” Gendreau said. “I want people to know that I didn’t have a problem with it, and they shouldn’t, either.”
Zeigler long worried that prejudice toward homosexuality would diminish an athlete’s chances of playing for a major American team sport. Now he is optimistic that it will have no bearing on Gendreau, an indication of how quickly society’s views have changed.
“N.F.L. teams will do whatever will win games,” Zeigler said. “I don’t think being openly gay hurts or helps him. It might hurt him with one NFL executive, or help him with another. But it won’t determine whether he gets a job.”
During his sophomore and junior seasons, on the way to back-to-back bowl berths for Middle Tennessee State, Gendreau made 28 of 34 field-goal attempts, the longest from 55 yards. As a sophomore in 2009, he kicked a game-winner as time expired to win at Maryland and was one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, given to college football’s top kicker.
As a senior, in 2011, Gendreau missed four of his first five kicks – a potential game-tying 47-yard field goal on the last play of the season opener at Purdue was blocked -- for a team that went 2-10. Interest in his skills waned, despite a strong second half of the season, and Gendreau was lost among the sea of kicking prospects vying for 32 N.F.L. jobs.
“I took that as my sign to hang it up,” Gendreau said.
He has spent most of the past year living in Washington, D.C., as an assistant at a real estate firm. He coached at a football camp last summer, where other coaches saw him kick and encouraged him to continue pursuing his dream of reaching the N.F.L.
“I’m not in the N.F.L.,” Gendreau said. “If that were to happen, I’d love to be that role model to anybody struggling. I know that’s a lot of pressure, but that’s the life of a kicker.”
- ....a kicker....
- Yeah, I think everyone knew that the first openly gay football player would be a kicker.
- A kicker? It should have been a tight end.
- I'd definitely make him a wide receiver.
- The big question is will he end up on a "reality" show on Logo or Bravo?
- He's cute and a nice guy.
- Well if amerikkka didn't act as if football was God's Game maybe gay players would be more confident about coming out.
- What does this have to do with Sidney Crosby's ass?
- He is Beeeeee-yoootifullll.
- hot dude
- What's wrong with being a kicker?
- And if the whole first openly gay NFL player thing doesn't work out, he could try to be the first openly male Rockette.
Bravo development team
- Wasn't that a joke? That odds are the first open gay man in the NFL was going to end up being a kicker?
- In this particular case: I think whoever is pushing the gay "angle" to the media is being a bit opportunistic. I would hope that he actually has the skills to be drafted; not just aiming for the potential endorsement deals or participating in tokenism.
- I guess I'm dense, R15. I mean, is it "kicks like a little girl" instead of "punches like a little boy"?
- [quote]“I’m a kicker that happens to be gay,” Gendreau said on Tuesday. “It’s a part of who I am, and not everything I am. I just want to be known as a normal kicker.”
Ruh roh! That's not gonna go down well with some people on this board.... I can hear the cries of 'internalized homophobia' rumbling in the distance as I type.
- Placekickers and punters are often the lowest paid starters on professional teams, although proven placekickers sometimes earn over $1 million per year in salary.
In addition, kickers are at times ostracized by other players due to the perceived non-physical and limited nature of their duties, as well as the fact they often are allowed to leave practice before the rest of the team.
It is not uncommon for a placekicker to be one of the smallest members of their team. However, The New York Times in 2011 wrote that NFL kickers had adopted year-round weight training and strict diets. Sebastian Janikowski that year was a 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m) and 250-pound (110 kg) kicker. Kicker Rob Bironas, who is 6 feet (1.8 m) and 205 pounds (93 kg), noted, "I might be bigger than some wide receivers and cornerbacks."
The presence of foreign born-and-raised players in the highest levels of gridiron football has largely been limited to placekickers—occasionally even coming from outside the traditional American high school and/or college football systems—and all but one of the women to have played men's American football were placekickers while the lone exception was a placekick holder. Notably Tom Landry recruited several soccer players from Latin America, such as Efren Herrera and Raphael Septien, to compete for the job of placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys. These anecdotes increase the perception of the placekicker as an outsider.
- Thank you, R19.
- Mamma Like! Mamma Like!
My mussy is moister than a muddy football field! My backfield is in motion and my manguyna is ready to receive!
- He looks familiar...
- Place kickers are the pinch-hitting ballerinas of football, or I sure was in high school.
- Holy hell he's hot!
- What's the penalty for roughing the kicker? 15 yards?
- Marry me!
- Interesting that the Times didn't note that he is a devout, fundie Christian.
He's like the gay Tim Tebow.
- Kicker, why not? Of course, to the British he'll always be a punter.
- A friend of mine went to school with one of his brothers, they look exactly the same!
Good to know at least one of them is gay ;)
- Hopefully not a cunt punter
- He has several pics on his Instagram with this boy. I'm guessing they are boyfriends, but that's just a guess.
And r29, he has pics with that brother too. I wondered if they were twins.
- Salon.com has a more complete profile. On his Christianity:
Gendreau has also long been a devout Christian, raised in a deeply religious household. It’s a tough mix, being gay and Christian. When he came out to his parents in high school, they put him in church-based counseling. That lasted four sessions.
His sexual orientation collided with his hometown church during the winter break of his freshman year in college. Back home in Orlando for three weeks, Gendreau brought his then-boyfriend to a church gathering with friends from high school.
When parents of other youth got wind that the mystery guest was his boyfriend and Gendreau was gay, they demanded the church leadership remove him from the their worship team. They complied.
“It was like my family telling me I wasn’t allowed to come home.”
- R31 I think he has two brothers around his age. Like one or two years apart. They all look quite alike. Jocks.
- This is his younger brother that I thought was a twin because of the similar names - Aaron and Alan.
- R34 They all start with an A. The other is called Arthur I believe.
- Handsome, athletic, religious, and openly gay.
- God he is perfection as is his brother...except for the religion part. They should thank their parents everyday for such a genetic combo. I should sue mine.
- That hot kicker is to extra points what this bottom is to bendy double joints...you want him to go deep and score.
- He's like a focus group's perfect beta test for this whole NFL controversy;
Conflicted back story, conveniently non-touching position, and great teeth.
- Kickers don't work as closely with other players. They are rarely hit.
- He's very hot. I see no downside to this revelation and future career path.
- I think Gendreau is supposed to be on Good Morning America later this morning. Of course Josh Elliot will be all over that.
Unfortunately it's not going to be an announcement that Gendrea was a first round draft pick.
- Kickers are almost never first-round picks.
- He seems like a cool guy.
And, on a shallower note, he's hot as hell. Anyone have his phone number?
- "Well if amerikkka didn't act as if football was God's Game maybe gay players would be more confident about coming out."
Football games are out Friday night church services, R9. Especially here in Texas.
- Good for him. That's progress.
- He's hot...
Mama's mussy is all tingly!
- Thank goodness he's hot because I wouldn't care otherwise.
- Still not gonna get me to watch football...
- Maybe if he gets picked, it will inspire Tim Tebow to come out.
- Most NFL fans thinks Kickers are gay anyway... and it is the only position were touching/ psychical contact is not allowed..They even get girls to be Kickers in an all male football team.
- Did he get noticed by the draft people?
- I think his favorite sport is soccer, not football, no?
- The update is that the draft is nearly at the end (they are midway through the 7th round right now) and he wasn't drafted.
But Gendreau clarified this morning on his twitter that he wasn't even being considered in the draft this week. That seems to be a different message than the press was putting out, but whatever.
Rather his intention is more like trying out for a walk-on spot. He's hoping that this summer during training camp a team (or a few) will give him a look and maybe sign him.
- Gendreau tweeted a positive message about Jason Collins coming out today.
- [quote]He's hoping that this summer during training camp a team (or a few) will give him a look and maybe sign him.
That would be nice.
- Apparently Gendreau is friendly with the recently out MLS player Robbie Rogers.
[quote]So proud of my buddy @robbierogers for being so brave and changing the culture of sports! #LAGalaxy #proud
- His Instagram account is a complete boner-wilter.
A sea of gayface, hags and Glamour Shotz.
He seems to be an aspiring circuit queen.
I predict he'll be addicted to meth and poz within two years.
- It's not quite as bad as R59 shrieks, but yes, there's a lot of gayface and tinynip emanating from his friend group. Alan really stands out as amazingly handsome in every shot.
- As cute as he is -- and he is -- he's a kicker. Like a high kicker or a member of a kick-line. Of course he's gay.
- Sexy beast. Top or bottom?
- I don't get what r59's problem is. He's gay, and he has gay friends. I think his instagram is as cute as the rest of him.
- We really have reached an amazing point of acceptance where apparently every fucking queen with a dream needs to have a parade.
- LMAO...he's a harmless queen (emphasis on the queen). Total dick wilted in person.
- So let me get this straight. His peak was being one of *20* semifinalists for a best college kicker award. He did not win.
He fucked up his senior year and didn't get drafted.
He didn't get drafted again this year.
Now he's working as a real-estate queen in DC.
His momentum in awe-inspiring. Why Outsports and not the cover of Sports Illustrated?
- r59, why are you so poisonous, dude? Your comments are not very masculine.
- Posting this vid of him singing a Celine Dion song is obviously a ploy to get the attention of NFL talent scouts.
- He's not bad at all.
- If he had vocal training, he'd actually be acceptable.
- He has a decent voice and is affable. I hope he continues in sports for a while.
- R59--Too many self-portraits is never a good sign.
- Apparently Gendreau got to throw out the first pitch at the Nationals game last night.
His attached twitter pic is a simulation to demonstrate his form...I'm assuming.