Meet Byron Perkins, the only out player in the 2024 NFL draft

We’d love it if the NFL could be just as queer as the WNBA, but we’ll take whatever small representation we can get whenever we can get it.

Heading into the 2024 NFL season, the third-out football player in the Draft, Byron Perkins, has his eyes on joining the ranks in any position, from quarterback to cornerback. He is a standout player from Hampton University in Virginia and one of the few players for the Draft to hail from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

Throughout the NFL Draft history, the first person to ever come out ahead of it was Michael Sam in 2014, who was eventually selected by the Rams during the seventh round. Back in 2020, Scott Frantz was the second player to come out as gay ahead of the Draft, but he never fully made it to the NFL.

As for Perkins, his status as an HBCU player may unfortunately impede his chances of making it into the NFL, despite his talent on the field and easygoing attitude. Historically, HBCU students don’t get the attention they deserve. Over the last four drafts, only six HBCU players have made it.

“I just want a fair shot”, Perkins told OutSports.

“I can only hope to have a sliver of an opportunity. If I go to a free agency situation, even uttering ‘National Football League,’ that’s a privilege. These guys dedicate their lives to being excellent every day. I’ll let the cards fall how they fall and let God lead me in the direction I need to go to be successful.”

We are also excited to see him being so open about his sexuality. Carl Nassib, who became the first active NFL player to identify as gay in 2021, recently addressed LGBTQ+ youth and his partnership with the Trevor Project ahead of the second-round pick for the Cleveland Browns, with whom he began his career in 2016.

“I’ve continued my support for the Trevor Project because there are kids here in the States, probably around the world, who would rather be dead than be gay and that really crushes me,” he told CNN.

Particularly with his status as a gay HBCU player, we’re hopeful Perkins finds success both on and off the field and continues to push for more widespread equality and representation.

Follow him on Instagram, @byron.perkinz, to show your support!

Via Out

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