Icon Sportswire via AP Images
Icon Sportswire via AP Images
We see him every day on television talking about Deflategate or Tim Tebow, but now ESPN's Israel Gutierrez is sharing his story with fans.
Today he publicly revealed that he is gay and engaged to be married.
"I've been agonizing for months trying to figure out how to do this," the 38-year-old Around the Horn personality wrote on his blog. "It's been incredibly difficult, to the point where I usually talk myself in circles and end up making very little sense. So I decided on this simple blog entry. No formalities, no restrictions, just me letting you into a portion of my life I've kept largely separate from my professional career.
"I'm gay, which plenty of people, I'm sure, have either deduced or just guessed as much over the years."
Gutierrez says the announcement isn't his big "coming out," adding that he has been out to friends and family for more than six years, but rather he is getting married on Sept. 12 and didn't want to deal with having to retell his story over and over again when someone noticed his ring.
"As far back as I can remember, I've always enjoyed sports, enjoyed competition," the Florida-born sports reporter and analyst continued. "But there was always, especially in my teenage years, a confidence barrier I could never break through. I couldn't really explain it then. I mean, I probably knew deep down that it was because I was gay, and for some reason that made me feel I wasn't on the same playing field, almost literally, as straight men. But I was already in deep denial about my sexuality, so acknowledging that would've probably broken me back then."
Gutierrez recalled that in his early teens, until somewhere in his late 20s, he would blow out his birthday candles and make the same wish: "'Please don't let me be gay.'
"Every time I prayed, I made sure to ask God to help me through this. To help reveal my true self."
Gutierrez said it wasn't until 2010, a year after he met his now fiancé, David Kitchen, that his life began to change.
"Not only was there, possibly, someone out there for me, but I had been making life so unnecessarily difficult on myself. I was so concerned about fitting what other people thought I should be, I was literally wasting an entire segment of my life. In a sense, all the prayer worked because I eventually saw my true self, and I've never been happier."
Gutierrez says he and David got engaged in February 2014 and says, while he never envisioned himself ever having a wedding, they will have a very traditional ceremony this month.
"I'm confident that now that this is out in the open, I can deliver an even better version of my professional self," he concluded. "Happiness tends to bring out the best in a person. And I'm so happy right now."
Congratulations to Israel and David on their upcoming nuptials!
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