Princeton University’s football season hasn’t started and Mason Darrow has broken a school record. The offensive lineman is the school’s first openly gay football player but Mason thinks his coming out is not that big of a deal!
At 6’5 tall and 285 pounds, Mason Darrow looks like any other college football player. But, the offensive lineman for the Princeton Tigers is different from any other Division I player: he’s gay. Mason came out to the world and in doing so, became Princeton University’s first openly gay player in history!
Mason’s story was posted to Outsports.com on Sept. 15. The article revealed how Mason struggled with concealing his identity as a freshman in 2013. When Mason wasn’t playing that great at the start of the 2013 season, Caleb Slate, a fellow offensive lineman, asked Mason what was wrong with him. Mason took a risk and came out to Caleb. While Caleb said he “didn’t see that coming,” he told his friend it would be OK. Afterwards, they ate mozzarella sticks and played video games.
“People will surprise you,” Mason said, according to Fox Sports. “I was definitely concerned that people, teammates, would react poorly. I think in this day and age, people really just don’t care about it. It’s really not a big deal anymore.”
Eventually, the rest of the Tigers found out about Mason being gay and they accepted him for who he was. “Telling my teammates was the best decision I have ever made,” he said. The last person to know was his coach, Bob Surace. Mason finally mustered the courage to tell him in the summer of 2015. When he heard the truth, Bob wasn’t fazed.
“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,” Bob told Outsports.com. “We’re going to support Mason 100%.”
He’s now the only openly gay player in Division I college football. Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year, said he was gay after he graduated. Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin came out in 2014, but has since graduated.
Mason is coming back from an ACL tear, and he is playing “really well.” In fact, he’s performing better than expected! He’s expected to play in the Princeton Tiger’s season opener against Lafayette College on Sept. 19. Go Mason!
Will you root for Mason and the Tigers this season, HollywoodLifers? Are you excited for the college football season?
— Jason Brow