After scoring his first touchdown; openly gay college football player Wyatt Pertuset realized the importance for LGBT athletes.
It was a busted play but as far as the openly gay football player Pertuset is concerned the play was everything to him.
When Pertuset ran down to the left side of the Schueler Field in Cincinnati, while playing against Mount St. Joseph in the late quarter of the play in Saturday’s season opener, he noticed that his quarterback Thomas Wibbeler scrambling and under pressure. So, Pertuset kept running, drifting right to tackle the opposing teams defenders.Eventually scoring a touchdown.
From there Wibbeler threw an amazing strike from 37 yards right out on the run, Pertuset caught hold of the ball and slid in his knees when the referee signaled touchdown as Pertuset was in end zone. He was in a state of shock as he just had scored his first touchdown.
Pertuset, 20, a junior from Richwood, Ohio said “It was completely overwhelming”.
He added, “It was on a scramble and I had to get open. Next thing you know, my quarterback, Thomas Wibbeler, connected with me in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown. All of my teammates quickly came to celebrate with me in the end zone and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Playing football was not on the menu for Pertuset after he had dislocated the Lisfranc joint of his foot, which meant he needed two surgeries and miss the 2017 season.
He said, “I haven’t really played the game in two years and I’ve worked so hard to get back to my normal self and a more improved self,”
He added. “Scoring that touchdown really made me convinced that all the time spent on surgery, therapy and rehab has all paid off.”
After all the reasons that the touchdown was important for Pertuset, the main reason was to prove that an openly gay player could perform at a high level; he was successful in doing that after scoring touchdown.
He came out publicly on Outsports in 2017. But he had been out at this small high school and he was already out to his Capital teammates. He was also named prom king and homecoming king, and was a voted student body president as a senior. He was All-Ohio special mention and there are numerous football awards that are under his belt.
Pertuset was the first publicly active gay college football player who has scored a touchdown .Out of the seven college players, Pertuset is the only one who plays a skill position. The gay players who have scored the touchdowns were not publicly gay out at that time. For instance, Dave Kopay scored a touchdown in 1964 but he was not publicly gay until after his nine year NFL career ended. Another one was Dorien Bryant, he scored six touchdowns from 2004 to 2007 but he also did not come out until 2013.
Pertuset sent a message to Outsports after the game saying “I DID IT!”. “First touchdown in the first quarter. First to ever do it. This one is for you, guys!”
“Being an openly gay player, it meant that much more to me to score that touchdown,” Pertuset
Stacey, tweeted last week that how proud she is of her son for being among the seven out players this season. In order to support his son she used #betrue hashtag.
He said “I want it to be one of those images in young minds, especially for the same age as me, who might be in the closet, to work hard and just play your heart out, not only for your team but for what you stand for,”
He added. “I want this to be a turning point that proves to people that we are great athletes as well.”