Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer has come out as gay and engaged to his partner Joshua Ross. This will make Rohrer the first known NFL player to be in a same-sex marriage.
Speaking to the New York Times, Rohrer admits “I’m sure there’s going to be some people out there who have a negative reaction to this and I’m fine with it.”
Rohrer, 59, was a football player in high school before playing football for Yale University. He was drafted to the Cowboys in 1982 and played for the team until 1989.
“If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately. It was a different world back then, people didn’t want to hear that,” Rohrer says.
Rohrer went on to marry a woman whom he shares two children. They have since divorced. After retiring from the NFL, Rohrer went on to pursue a career in media. Rohrer met his partner Joshua Ross, an esthetician and founder of SkinLab, at a gay bar in Los Angeles. The couple started dating in 2015.
“People are born gay, as I was, though being gay was just something that had no place during the course of my football life,” Rohrer says.“But when I got divorced, I said the hell with it, I’m going to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Then I found Josh, and began to openly live the life I was born to live.”
He says that while some people were surprised there was plenty of support.
“I’ve given at least five people heart attacks with this news,” Rohrer says. “But for the most part, many of my closest friends, including some of my former teammates with the Cowboys, could not have been more happy and supportive.”
In an interview with OutSports, Rohrer says he believes sexuality isn’t a choice.
“My experience is that people are born gay, and anyone who wants to dispute that I’d be happy to have a conversation with them, including Mike Pence,” Rohrer told Outsports. “I’d love to sit down with him.”
The couple are set to wed on Sunday in front of 150 guests at Wattles Mansion Gardens in Los Angeles.