Furman footballer Ryan Deluca is gay and his team love him


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Ryan deluca, the Furman University wide receiver, revealed himself publicly as gay on Instagram on Thursday, less than two weeks after his last game against the Paladins.

He said in his Instagram post that his coming out has been on his mind for some time.

“I had wanted to come out for a while,” he wrote. “I think I’m finally ready and I’m proud of it. I want to thank everyone who know me and have supported me so far, you all mean a lot to me. Thanks to the one who makes me smile.

The post has received a wave of support from people in his life, including his current and former teammates.

Cam Burnette played Furman with Deluca until 2018 when he was transferred to East Carolina.

“So proud and happy for you,” Burnette wrote. “I love you, my brother.”

From DT Matt Sochova: “You deserve this 83. All the love.”

Deluca wore No.83 for the Paladins.

Fellow WR Noah Henderson: “I love you my brother.”

Nate Kyei-Donkor, who now plays for Duke: “Congratulations my brother. Always love.”

And Again and again.

“I wasn’t expecting the kind of reaction I got,” Deluca told Outsports over the phone. “It was awesome. Almost all of my teammates, and almost everyone I came in contact with in college, gave me love. And I wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure. .

Furman’s head football coach also sent Outsports this message of support to his player:

“Ryan has been a great student, player, teammate and friend to everyone in our program and on campus,” said coach Clay Hendrix. “We love it and support it – always have and always will.”

Deluca said that while he expected to receive some support, he also expected immediate detractors. Being sent universal love blew him away.

“People were going out of their way to put it on their own social media,” he said. “It made me feel really good.”

This reflects the broad support we found in our study of our LGBTQ athletes this year, Out In Sports, which showed that 97% of college LGBTQ athletes who came forward to their teammates had a ‘neutral’ experience at worst. doing so.

Deluca mentioned “the one that makes me smile” in his post. That person is her boyfriend, who he met on Instagram after directing her one night when he found the “courage” to hit send. It was almost two years ago. Deluca has accepted a staff position in Las Vegas and will be moving there to be with her boyfriend next year.

The athlete, who grew up in a small South Carolina town of less than 20,000, said he felt gay in high school, but only accepted it during his sophomore year in college . The last two years have involved “secret” encounters. He even dated two teammates he trusted a few years ago.

Between all of that and a late-night trip through gay Tinder, a rumor started among his teammates that Deluca could be on the line, a rumor he dismissed.

Deluca said he hardly ever heard comments from his teammates degrading gay people.

Ryan Deluca found the love and acceptance of the many teammates and people at Furman University who contacted him.
Furman Athletics

“I never thought I would be in danger in this,” he said, though he feared his relationship with his teammates would become more distant if he revealed it to them.

Deluca said the last 24 hours after sharing his true self on Instagram had lifted a huge weight to him, that he wished he had done it sooner and that he woke up this morning feeling like a new one. man.

“I feel really different when I wake up today than I did yesterday,” he said. “You don’t have to be nervous about anything anymore, just no more anxiety, no more worries for the day. I don’t have to adjust my answers to anything. I can just live my life like me now, which is really cool.

Deluca ended his career with Furman with 1120 yards and 10 total touchdowns. He caught 24 receptions for the team’s lead in the shortened spring 2021 season and added 17 receptions for 224 yards in his final season this fall.

You can follow Ryan Deluca on Instagram and on Twitter.

If you are an LGBTQ person in sport looking to connect with other members of the community, visit GO! Space out to meet and interact with other LGBTQ athletes, or to Equality Coaching Alliance to find other coaches, administrators and other non-athletes in sport.


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