Photography by Ryan Pfluger at Tribeca Journal Studio, New York, on September 25, 2015. Groomer: Dallin James at The Wall Group.
Three months before Michael Sam came out to the world in an ESPN interview, Mason Darrow, an offensive linesman for the Princeton Tigers, came out to his teammate Caleb Slate. Darrow had agonized about the decision, but any anxieties were put to rest by his friend. “He was, like, ‘Nobody’s going to care — we love you, you’re our teammate, you work hard.’ ” Slate was right — the team didn’t care. But it was only this summer that Darrow was ready to go public with his coach, Bob Surace, and the rest of the world. “The gay community is often generalized as this one specific subgroup, whereas in reality it’s a very diverse community,” Darrow says, “and I wanted to show another side of that.” Like everyone else, Surace took the news in his stride, telling Outsports, “Here at Princeton, if we can’t handle this and say, ‘We’re supportive of everybody no matter what their background, religion, race, or sexual orientation,’ then we don’t have the right guys in the locker room.”