Bradley Kim, a safety for the Air Force football team, announced that he is gay.
He went public on his social media profiles on Friday afternoon. Kim said he was unsure he’d ever reach a point where he was comfortable enough to do so.
“I did not think this day would ever come, but I’ve finally reached the point where I am comfortable and confident enough with myself to say that I am gay,” Kim wrote. “It’s been a long road to get to this point and I definitely would not be here without the love and support of my amazing family, teammates and coaches here at the academy, and my equally amazing friends. I feel blessed to have such receptive and understanding people in my life.”
‘I hope I can serve as an example’
Kim said he decided to publicly divulge his sexual orientation in order to help those out there who may be struggling with their identity, including athletes. In an interview with Outsports.com, Kim said he came out to players in his position group at Air Force.
They gave him a standing ovation.
It was the latest in a wave of support Kim has felt from family, friends, coaches and teammates.
“I hope that I can serve as an example to those who are allowing their fear of acceptance to change who they are. I almost gave up my dream of playing division one football for fear of not being accepted by everyone, but today I am happy to say that I am a cadet at the Air Force Academy playing the sport I love with amazing people standing behind me and supporting me,” Kim said.
“If anyone feels like they don’t have a voice or feel like they are alone, just know there are plenty of people out there like you and me, and more that are willing to talk to you about it. God bless all and thank you to everyone who has made me feel comfortable to live my most genuine life.”
Kim hopes to make his Air Force football debut this season
Kim was a three-year starter as a defensive back at Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. He chose to play at Air Force over scholarship offers from Army and Navy.
Kim told Outsports he injured his shoulder during basic training, so he wasn’t able to play football last season after undergoing surgery. In May, he said on Instagram that he had recovered from the injury.
“I’ve been patiently waiting through the long recovery of my shoulder injury for 9 months now,” he wrote. “I’m incredibly excited to say that I’m fully recovered and ready to take the field in the fall. Got a lot to prove come September.”
Kim is the latest college football player to come out
Since Missouri star Michael Sam came out of the closet after his college career ended, several others have followed suit, but Kim is believed to be the first at a military academy.
Air Force released the following statement to The Colorado Springs Gazette: “The academy strives to foster a culture where everyone gives and receives dignity and respect so that each individual has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”
When defensive end My-King Johnson signed with Arizona last year, he became the first openly gay FBS player on scholarship. Previously, in 2014, Arizona State walk-on lineman Edward Sarafin became the first active player to come out publicly as gay.
Those are just a few examples. More stories of athletes in all sports can be found on Outsports.
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