Photo courtesy of Sun Devil Athletics
Arizona State backup offensive lineman Edward “Chip” Sarafin came out publicly in Compete, an LGBT sports magazine. Sarafin, a redshirt senior listed at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, is the first known openly gay active player in major college football, according to Outsports.
Michael Sam tweeted his support:
Congratulations Chip Sarafin for having the courage to be yourself. Wishing you and your teammates much success this season. #courage2014
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 13, 2014
Like Michael Sam, Sarafin began coming out to his teammates as an active player, but his public announcement makes him the first openly gay football player on an active collegiate roster. The proud Sun Devil team issued statements of support as well, with Head Coach Todd Graham stating:
"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way. Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master's student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff."
Sarafin has already earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same field. He's also studying for the MCATs and has taken on a number of football-related community outreach projects. He says that one notable issue, particularly in football, is the physical and mental harm caused by multiple concussions. The long-term effect of multiple head injuries has most recently been in the news as the catalyst for the suicides of former NFL players Paul Oliver and Dave Duerson, among others. Sarafin also works with the Pat Tillman Foundation, an organization invested in veterans and their spouses, and named after the late ASU and Arizona Cardinals player Pat Tillman, who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
A man with many ambitions, Sarafin told Compete: “Someone who gives back to everyone, and loves his family… that is the type of man I want to be.”