Stop what you are doing and learn about Alan Gendreau, who was a kicker for Middle Tennessee State University, is an openly gay Christian, and who has decided to give the NFL his best shot. Cyd Ziegler has a stellar report in OutSports:
Gendreau had a record-breaking career at Middle Tennessee State.
With a PAT in his final game as a Blue Raider, he became the all-time leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history with 295 points. His longest field goal in college, at 55 yards, was the second-longest ever in the conference. That was 12 yards short of the 67-yard field goals he connected on during team practices; it was even shorter than field goals he kicked in high school.
In his sophomore and junior years, he was 28-of-34 for an 82-percent conversion rate. In 2009, he was a national semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award that honors the top college place-kicker in the U.S.
Things got rocky his senior year, though, and he ended up stepping back from the sport.
I first met Gendreau four years ago when Outsports ran an anonymous story by sociologist Eric Anderson about the gay kicker. Gendreau was a freshman at MTSU at the time, out to his teammates and embraced by them. He didn’t reveal his name publicly at the time because he feared how it would affect both his family and his shot at the NFL.
Now openly gay and 23, with a deep-seated confidence in his sexual orientation, Gendreau wants another shot at the pros. This time, he wants to do it open and honest about who he is. This time, he wants to give it everything he has.
The Orlando, Fla., native knew he was gay at a very young age. He came out to friends and family at 16, started dating boys in high school and had on-again, off-again relationships with men through college.
“When you know, you know,” he said with a smile.
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.
The article discusses the hyper-Christian environment at MTSU (a few miles south of Nashville, it’s a different world), but Alan says that his team always knew and no one cared, which goes a long way to break the stereotype of football as a completely homophobic sport, and says a lot about what young Christians are like these days.
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of Alan in the near future and we wish him the best of luck.