Former Gopher football lineman Luke McAvoy released a story today via OutSports.com detailing the emotional process of coming out as gay to his team during Minnesota's 2013-2014 season.
McAvoy played for the Gophers as a backup offensive lineman and member of the scout team from 2011 to 2014, according to the Star Tribune.
In his piece for OutSports, McAvoy describes getting to play on the line during a rivalry game against Iowa State as an experience that he "would not trade for the world."
A native of Bloomington, Illinois, McAvoy says he didn't come out to anyone until his senior year of high school – and even then, only his mother. After receiving a cautionary warning from his mother, he continued to keep his sexual orientation quiet until his senior year in college in 2014 when, emboldened by the coming-out story of Missouri football player Michael Sam, he decided to tell two of his trusted friends and teammates.
In his story for OutSports, McAvoy admitted that not every teammate took the news of his identity well, but described the response from his fellow players and the team's staff in a positive light.
"It was the acceptance from my teammates that I will remember," McAvoy recalled, "Being part of a family that did just about everything together for four years was amazing. Being part of a family that turned out to be so much more accepting and supportive than I could have imagined made me realize that I had nothing to fear. The only thing I should have been afraid of was what was in my own mind."
On Twitter, support and kind words for McAvoy flowed in. Here's a sampling:
McAvoy now works as a Middle School teacher, according to the Pioneer Press. Despite limited playing time, the lineman received all-academic Big Ten honors and won the Tony Dungy Character and Community Service Award in 2014.
"Luke did a tremendous amount for our athletic department," former Gophers head coach Jerry Kill said, in a statement to the Star Tribune, "He was a great teammate. ... I’m very proud of the success he’s having."