Conner Mertens and the Muted Media Coverage of the First Openly Bisexual NCAA American Football Player

  • M. F. OgilvieEmail author
  • Mark McCormack


In January 2014, Conner Mertens publicly came out as bisexual, making him the first NCAA American Football player to announce a non-heterosexual sexual orientation while still being an active team member. In doing so, he became the first active athlete in a long line of athletes to publicly come out, thus paving the way for acceptance for LGB athletes in College and Professional Sports. This article provides a content analysis of all online articles written about Conner Mertens—from the day he came out as bisexual, to June of 2018—seeking to examine whether his portrayal is consistent with the inclusive response to other gay male athletes that have come out in recent years. Results indicate that although the media response to his coming out was positive, there is evidence of the media downplaying his bisexuality, as well as a mass misperception of hypermasculinity among elite male athletes.


Androgyny Elite Male Athletes Hypermasculinification Bisexual Erasure Willamette University 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport and Exercise SciencesDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of Social SciencesUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

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