My name is Kal Prince and I am a senior at Columbia University, where I play for the football team. Playing football for Columbia has been one of the hardest but most rewarding journeys in my life. There are several aspects of being a collegiate athlete that are difficult, but I believe in today’s time, there is a lot more to being an athlete than lifting weights and practicing.
There has been a cultural push across America to accept all human beings, regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation. Now this cultural push has made its way into all levels of sport in the United States. During the last few years, several professional athletes have come out as LGBT, which has caused mixed reactions within the public. I believe this to be monumental for the progression of sports, as we are now seeing athletes for who they really are: athletes. We are finally at a point where we can focus on their contributions to sport rather than their life outside of it.
Programs like Athlete Ally represent the future of sports, where an athlete can relate with others regardless of their sexual orientation. In order to perform at the highest level in sports, athletes must have the backing of their community and fellow teammates. This support includes open-minded surroundings for these athletes.
Athlete Ally brings a positive message for all athletes with the intention of increasing awareness and providing a safe space within sports for all players and staff involved, regardless of their sexual orientation. With the push for an open-minded culture across the country, it is time to make this a part of our conscience. If we begin to practice this transparency toward sexual orientation in all levels of sports, our youth will replicate our message.