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Arizona State OL Chip Sarafin taken aback by attention


When Arizona State offensive lineman Chip Sarafin came out to a local magazine earlier this week, most reacted positively to the fifth-year senior becoming the first active, openly gay Division I football player.

He didn't expect so much attention from the outside world to news that the Sun Devils have known for nearly a year, though.

"(Coming out) was something I initially intended to do, but I didn't intend for it to blow out of proportion like it did," Sarafin told The Associated Press. "I originally did it to get some of the stuff I was working on out into the world, bring attention to some of the issues I thought were important. Obviously, it got to the magnitude that it did and I support this."

While Sarafin's announcement didn't quite reach the same level of attention that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam received after coming out prior to the NFL draft, the historic move still made headlines and prompted dozens of reporters to quickly head to Arizona State's training camp at Camp Tontozona.

"I'm hoping that stuff like this won't be such a big news story, that people will hear stories like this and it won't be such a big thing," Sarafin said, per The AP. "Eventually, players will be who they are and it's just that, but right now there still needs to be role models for those types of players."

A reserve center for the team, Sarafin joined the Sun Devils as a walk-on thanks in part to support from former head coach Frank Kush, who Sarafin said pushed for him to get an opportunity.

Sarafin said on Thursday said he informed teammates of his sexual orientation individually over the past few months and first told the coaching staff more than a year ago.

Arizona State has shown full support for Sarafin in the days since his announcement. The school issued statements praising him and head coach Todd Graham has said repeatedly that Sarafin's announcement is not a distraction to the team.

Sarafin played on special teams last season, according to the school, and is expected to be a backup offensive lineman in 2014.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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