17-year old My-King Johnson is making history as the first openly gay Division I football recruit. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end has signed with his home-state’s Arizona Wildcats.
Johnson let Arizona’s defensive line coach, Vincent Amey, know he was gay from the start. According to Johnson, the coach responded, “We want you to be a Wildcat.”
However, Amey was not without reservations. He explains, “When I found out, I really couldn’t sleep…..and it wasn’t like I was uncomfortable with it. I was just like, all right, it’s different, it’s new.” However, he assured Johnson, “Look, you are who you are, I am who I am, and I’m going to coach you the same way. I’m going to treat you the same way. I’m going to get on you the same way as everybody else. There’s no difference. You do what you do.”
Johnson revealed his sexual orientation to friends and family when he was 12 years old. Raised by a teenage mother, his mom now works as a nurse in Seattle and they speak daily. Though supportive, she also continues to worry about her son saying, “It’s hard enough being a black kid in America…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 seems to be in high spirits though, staying focused on the game. He recites on Twitter “I’m just here to play football.”
He’s also said, ‘“My name definitely motivates me…when someone’s looking down at a roster, or they’re looking at a page, they’re going to say . . . let me see what he’s about.”