College Athlete Jake Bain Reflects On His Coming-Out Journey On 'Ellen'

The Indiana State University football player rose to national prominence after opening up about his sexuality in a heartfelt 2017 speech.

Jake Bain made national headlines in October 2017 when he came out as gay to classmates at Missouri’s John Burroughs High School in a speech he delivered at an on-campus assembly. 

Now playing Division I football at Indiana State University, Bain still gets emotional speaking about his coming-out journey. In a Monday appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” he recalled being very concerned about the impact his sexuality might have on his future as an athlete. 

“I had a lot of nerves coming out because, at that time, there weren’t very many out, openly gay football players,” he explained. “Or any,” DeGeneres clarified. 

Fortunately, Bain said, all of his nerves were set aside by the time he enrolled at Indiana State University. 

“Even before I committed there, I talked to the coach about my sexuality and that I wanted to be openly gay,” he said. “He assured me from the very beginning that I was gonna be accepted by the community at Indiana State and that my teammates were gonna treat me just like anybody else on the team.” 

DeGeneres introduced the audience to Bain’s boyfriend, Hunter Sigmund. The men have been together for two years and have learned to navigate being in a long-distance relationship, with Sigmund attending the University of North Carolina. 

Later, DeGeneres paired Bain with “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson for a lively game of “Holey Thrower.” While the guys aren’t equally matched in terms of athletic prowess, they proved themselves to be pop culture savants, answering trivia about cocktails, “Hamilton” and the Golden Globes with aplomb.