'no longer scared to hide who I am'
Luke Prokop has made NHL history.
The 19-year-old Nashville Predators prospect came out as gay in an Instagram post on Monday, which made him the first player under NHL contract to ever do so, BuzzFeed News reported. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2020.
"I am no longer scared to hide who I am," Prokop wrote. "Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay. It has been quite the journey to get to this point in my life, but I could not be happier with my decision to come out."
He further explained to ESPN that he decided to come out in April, as "I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn't be my true authentic self. In that moment I said, 'Enough is enough. I'm accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.'" Prokop's announcement came weeks after Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay, The New York Times noted.
Prokop told ESPN that the Nashville Predators has been supportive after he started coming out to teammates and management, and in a statement, Predators president and CEO Sean Henry said the team is "proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect." Predators general manager David Poile also told The Athletic, "This is a big story and hopefully it helps and encourages others in similar situations."