For one of the most successful Kentucky punters in recent memory, things were never easy internally throughout his career — or entire life — until today.
In a post on SB Nation's Outsports page on Wednesday, former Kentucky punter Landon Foster pushed a previously closed door into his personal life open, announcing that he is gay.
In the post, Foster explains that he was in his own "isolate" world at UK, trying to navigate what others defined as perfection for a young man and finding out what it meant for him.
"For the entirety of my adolescence and college career, I thought being 'perfect' was the path to a successful and happy life," Foster wrote. "Anything else would pronounce failure. And my one fear in life was failure. I wanted to be perfect."
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Foster continued, saying that he dealt with internal insecurities and a feeling of shame before realizing that he needed to be proud of himself before he could live life freely.
Foster listed 22 "I am" statements before revealing the truth he previously suppressed.
"I am a four-year Kentucky football letterman. I am an only child. I am a white, 6-foot-2 man. I am gay."
Foster also recounts a particularly challenging time in his personal life during his junior and senior seasons when Michael Sam, a pioneer in the gay sports community and former NFL and Missouri linebacker, was making headlines for coming out ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft. The Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and Kentucky district clerk Kim Davis were also in the news, all at the same time Foster and the Wildcats were fighting for bowl eligibility.
In the post, Foster remembers not wanting to create "any unnecessary distractions" for his team at the time by spreading personal news about himself.
"Up to that point, every action in my life was first contemplated in my head about what is the most 'straight' thing to say, do or wear," Foster wrote. "When I couldn’t trust one of the most fundamental aspects of my existence — to whom I am attracted — then trusting myself in any other aspect of life became almost impossible."
Foster claims his on-field performance and off-field happiness "suffered tremendously" as a result of keeping the details of his sexuality to himself. He says his reasoning for coming out now is not for himself, but for others.
"I want to positively affect as many people as possible, and I believe this is one avenue," he said.
Foster was the starting punter for the Wildcats from 2012-2015 and led the SEC in punts and punting yards in 2013. He finished third in school history with over 250 punts and fifth in total punting yards, amassing over 1,000 yards throughout his career.
The Lexington Pride Festival will take place on June 30.