Colton Underwood doesn’t feel the football community is ready for gay players.
The “Bachelor” star spoke about how Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, almost inspired him to come out back in 2014.
“I had the opportunity in 2014 when I entered the draft. Michael Sam came out,” Underwood said, saying he regrets not coming out earlier.
Speaking with Variety, Underwood said, “The football and athletic community is not ready for gay people.”
Underwood said he has recently spoken with Sam where they spoke about how he was teased in the locker rooms.
“I’ve had a conversation with Michael about this, since I came out. I just sort of had a heart-to-heart with him,” Underwood said. “I said, ‘I just want to let you know that you should have given me the confidence to stand up and say, ‘You’re not alone.’ But unfortunately, I went to a different locker room. And I told him, ‘In the locker room that I was in, they didn’t say nice things about you.’”
“I was like, ‘I’m sorry because I could have tried to help you by coming out with you, and then seen if that caused another to come out.’ But I didn’t have the courage and I wasn’t at a point in my life where I was ready to come out — if anything, Michael Sam coming out and being so public about it put me in the closet even further because I didn’t want to be like Michael, in the sense that I didn’t want it to be negative or bad,” Underwood continued.
He also spoke about what he sees in his future, including starting a family.
“If 6-year-old Colton could have seen another person that resembled me,” he said, “I feel like this is my opportunity to try to correct what I did wrong and try to impact people out there struggling, deeply in the closet, and ashamed of who they are and hate who they are. I hated myself. I hated myself for being gay. If I can do anything to tell someone out there struggling that it’s all going to be okay one day and that everything you think you can’t have, you can, and there is power in your truth.”
“I do want to be in love. I still want the white picket fence,” Underwood added. “The whole definition of traditional lifestyle that I thought growing up conservative meant, I can still have.”
Concluding, “I can, for the first time in my life, actually picture myself with a family — and my family looks a little different than when I pictured it four or five years ago, but it just makes me happy, even thinking about it.”