August 27, 2014
SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A redshirt freshman place kicker at Division III Willamette has announced that he is bisexual, saying he decided to come forward because he wanted to be a source of encouragement for LGBT youth.
Conner Mertens, who first announced his sexual orientation through the website Outsports.com, had already told his coaches and his teammates. The school scheduled a news conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss his announcement.
Willamette issued a statement supporting Mertens' decision, saying the university "respects his contribution to a more humane and just world."
The Bearcats play in the Northwest Conference. The team went 7-2 overall last season and finished third in the league at 4-2.
Mertens did not play his freshman season because of injury.
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