1st HBCU football player comes out days before homecoming

Perkins announced his truth through his Instagram story
1st HBCU football player comes out days before homecoming
Byron Perkins (Image source: Facebook – Byron Perkins)

Byron Perkins wants to let the world to know his true, full self. The Hampton redshirt junior defensive back became the first HBCU football player to come out as gay on his Instagram story on Oct. 19.

“I’ve decided that I’m going to make a change, and stop running away from myself,” Perkins’ story read, according to “I’m gay, let it be known that this is not a ‘decision’ or a ‘choice.’ Yes, this is who I am, this is who I’ve been, and this is who I’m going to be.”

“No one should have to live a life crippled by what society thinks.”

There are at least three Division I college football players who have come out as gay during their careers, namely the College of Idaho’s Cy Hicks, Amherst College’s Avery Saffold and Kansas State’s Scott Frantz. Perkins is the first HBCU player to do so.

His announcement received an outpouring of public support from citizens, including “Around The Horn” panelist and Hampton alum Justin Tinsley.

“I hope I can meet him, I’m proud of him,” Tinsley said on the show.

“Looking forward to meeting you too, boss!” Perkins tweeted in response.

Best-selling author and journalist Jeff Pearlman also offered his thoughts.

“I have to say, this took a lot of bravery and strength from Byron Perkins,” Pearlman tweeted. “Football remains a land of b——- machismo; of ‘man up’ nonsense. I’m sure the young man has heard his fair share of slurs from teammates unaware that he is gay. So bravo times 100,000.”

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound athlete was a three-star prospect coming out of De La Salle Institute in Chicago. He originally committed and started his career at Purdue University before transferring to Hampton. The Pirates are currently 4-2, and are set to host the University of Richmond for homecoming at 2 p.m. on Oct. 22 at Armstrong Stadium.

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