Melbourne United’s Isaac Humphries comes out as gay

NBA star Isaac Humphries' emotional announcement

Melbourne United’s Isaac Humphries has come out as the first openly gay male player in NBL history in an emotional speech to his teammates.

In a video filmed in the locker room and posted to social media on Wednesday, the starting centre fought back tears as he said he’d been through “extremely dark times” and had hidden his sexuality from loved ones and even himself.

“It is a truth about myself that I have wanted to deny for a long time, but now I feel comfortable in telling you all. That truth, is that I am gay,” Humphries said.

He told his teammates he wanted to be an example to the next generation of athletes.

“I believe it is definitely time to make a change and set an example to the next generation that they can be anything they want while still being true to themselves,” he said.

“I want to demonstrate that you can be a professional athlete, you can be anything you want, and still be gay.”

The 24-year-old is the second active male athlete in one of Australia’s top sports leagues to come out as gay, joining A-League Men player Josh Cavallo. Cavallo shared his own announcement just over a year ago.

“I knew if I were to join a team and start a season, I knew I would have to reveal who I am and not hide any more,” Humphries said.

He is the second male basketball player to come out as gay while playing in one of the world’s top-tier basketball leagues.

NBA veteran Jason Collins was the first, in 2013.

The NBA tweeted a message of support for Humphries on Wednesday morning.

“We are proud and grateful to Isaac for sharing his story,” the post read.

“We know the real impact of his honest and courage will have on many others. Isaac has our unwavering respect and support.”

Humphries’ announcement came ahead of a clash against his former club, Adelaide 36ers, at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.

United CEO Nick Truelson and head coach Dean Vickerman said the organisation was proud of Humphries.

“Today is an incredible step in Isaac’s journey, and we as a club are wholeheartedly supportive of him,” Mr Truelson said.

“Not only as a member of our club, but as a person.

“This is a momentous occasion for him personally, but also for male sport on a global scale.”

Pride in Sport, a national non-profit sporting inclusion program released a statement applauding Humphries for sharing his story. But it also said his statement “highlights the fear many athletes have in coming out”.

“We know that experiences of prejudice and harassment, and/or not being able to live openly can impact on the mental health of LGBTQ people.

“It is the right of every player to be accepted and affirmed, on and off the sporting field, and we know that when this happens, mental and physical health outcomes dramatically improve,” the statement said.

“Sport has an amazing opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment to all people, including people with diverse genders and sexualities.”

– with AAP

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