The room fell silent when Kansas State offensive lineman Scott Frantz told his teammates he was gay last year.
But only for a moment.
Once K-State football players processed the personal secret Frantz had shared with them in a players-only meeting designed to help them bond before the start of the 2016 season, the room filled with cheers and words of support.
“I distinctly remember the guy I was sitting next to, Steven West, standing up and telling him, ‘No one cares. You are still Scott to us,’ ” former K-State receiver Deante Burton said. “Then we all kind of started telling him the same thing, that it doesn’t change who you are or how we see you. That was the instant feeling we all got.”
“It’s a decision and it doesn’t bother me none. At the end of the day, you are still Scott. You are still our brother, you still bleed and sweat and cry with us. It doesn’t change who you are or how we see you. I think that is what made it such a good thing for him and for all of us.”
Frantz, K-State’s sophomore starting left tackle, took things a step further when he came out on national television in an interview with ESPN on Thursday. He went public with the personal information on a morning edition of “SportsCenter” in order to help “all the other kids who are just like me.”
The 6-foot-5 Frantz said he was in tears when he shared his secret with teammates. Their support meant the world to him.
“I came out to my teammates, and I’ve never felt so loved and so accepted ever in my life than when I did that,” Frantz told ESPN reporter Holly Rowe. “And ever since then it’s been great. I’ve grown so much closer to my teammates since. So it’s been an amazing experience.”
Teammates said Frantz asked them to treat him no differently than they had before, and they obliged. Life went on in the K-State locker room like normal.
Frantz said he later informed K-State football coach Bill Snyder that he was gay, and Snyder responded by telling Frantz that was perfectly fine and that he is a good football player.
Snyder was also supportive of Frantz sharing his story with the world.
“What impressed me about this story is that Scott really thought that he could assist others who were experiencing perhaps the same thing or something very similar to this,” Snyder said in a statement to the Eagle. “And that hit home with me. And you know I wanted him to have the opportunity to be able to assist others who may be in a somewhat similar situation not necessarily in athletics but just in general.”
“I was quite comfortable that (our team) would be very receptive and that they would treat him as they always have — as his teammate and someone that they cared about. And they did.”
Several K-State football players showed support for Frantz on Thursday via social media.
“Couldn’t be more proud to call (Frantz) my brother,” tweeted junior tight end Dayton Valentine.