Colton Underwood Shares Why He Hesitated to Come Out Publicly: ‘The Football Community Isn’t Ready for Gay People’
Colton Underwood shared that he was actually ready to come out publicly years ago.
Speaking to Variety, The Bachelor alum revealed that he originally wanted to come out publicly in 2014 when he was drafted to the NFL. (Underwood was first signed as a free agent to the San Diego Chargers before being added to the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders practice teams.)
The same year Underwood was drafted, Michael Sam came out as the first openly gay drafted player in the league. Underwood said that the homophobic reactions Sam received from his fellow NFL players stopped from coming out at the time.
“The football and athletic community is not ready for gay people,” Underwood told the outlet.
Underwood also shared that he ended up having a "heart-to-heart" conversation with Sam. “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.’”
Underwood apologized to Sam because he believed he could have helped Sam by also coming out and creating an air of solidarity.
"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," he admitted.
"It was easy for me to dive into football and hide behind that," he added. It wasn't until leaving the NFL that he realized he couldn't hide behind the game anymore.
“And then from football, I remember there were a weird few months of my life where I was like, ‘What’s next, now that football is gone? I can’t hide there, so where can I hide now?’ And then The Bachelor fell in my lap, and then before you know it, I am The Bachelor. There was always something for me to dive into.”