Here’s Why This All-Star Football Player Wishes He Came Out of the Closet Sooner

Here’s Why This All-Star Football Player Wishes He Came Out of the Closet Sooner

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Landon Foster is a former punter for the University of Kentucky. During his time there, he was All-American on the field and a two-time Academic All-American in the classroom. The summer before he graduated, in June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide. Due to that and other events in his life, Foster struggled and chose not to pursue an NFL career. The reason only became apparent after Foster completed undergrad, and it’s a decision he regrets today.

Staying in the closet hurts your performance

Foster admits that his senior year performance on the field suffered because he hid in the closet. He now knows that everyone’s performance with anything — sports, school, etc. — suffers when we aren’t our truest selves.

More queer athletes must come out

Like Nate Northington before him who paved the way for African-Americans to play football in the SEC Conference, Foster wishes he increased inclusion in football at the height of his football career. Foster had a sense, though, that it wasn’t possible to pursue both becoming a professional football player and being an out gay man. Foster says, “That’s really tough to admit, but the thought was definitely in my head.”

But change often isn’t easy.

Regrets can open opportunities

Despite his personal struggles, Foster does believe life is getting better for queer people in sports, pointing specifically to people like Robbie Rogers, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon. The improvements are still often in isolation, though. So Foster’s using his football platform and recent TED Talk to inspire other queer people, on and off the field, to be their true selves.

Foster’s completing his graduate studies at the University of South Florida and recently accepted an investment banking position.

Banking is another boys’ club he plans to make queer-friendly.

Hear how Landon Foster’s changing his regret into opportunity on this episode of Queer Money:

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With their writing and speaking for and Queer Money™ podcast, David Auten and John Schneider help queer people live fabulously, not fabulously broke. Their goal is to connect LGBTQ people with the information and services they need so queer individuals and the community can do more and be more.

This story was originally published on Sept 10 2018.

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