Arizona's My-King Johnson to become first openly gay player on scholarship

Photo of Arizona's My-King Johnson to become first openly gay player on scholarship
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When Arizona freshman My-King Johnson arrives on campus in the summer, he will become the first active openly gay scholarship player in NCAA football history.

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 225 pounds, Johnson recorded 43.5 sacks in his junior and senior seasons, originally committing to UCLA before deciding to sign with Arizona on National Signing Day.

"I’m a very honest person," Johnson told Zack Rosenblatt of the Arizona Daily Star in regards to being open about his sexuality. "I just don’t see how I could be living an honest, truthful life and have that in the background."

Johnson's mother, Nadette Lewis, never had second thoughts when her son told her he was gay, but does worry others will fail to accept him the way she and his high school teammates have.

"It’s hard enough being a black kid in America," Lewis said. "Then I worry about him being a football jock, then I worry about him being gay because it’s still not so accepted. Everybody perceives him as a dumb jock because he is a football star, which he’s not, but then you’re gay and a football player? That’s not heard of yet, and maybe it’s still not accepted in the football world."

Johnson is prepared to face any backlash that might come his way.

"I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back," Johnson said about how his future teammates or opposing players and fan bases may react to his sexuality. "But whatever."

A former three-star recruit according to ESPN, Johnson held offers from Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, and USC, before committing and eventually signing with the Wildcats.

Johnson would join Arizona State walk-on Chip Sarafin (2014) and Princeton's Mason Darrow (2015) as the only active players to play major college football while being openly gay.

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