What Landon Foster\'s Been Doing Since Retiring From Kentucky Football And Coming Out

Studies show that 61% of Americans are hiding some parts of themselves at work. Studies also show that employees who waste energy hiding any part of themselves don’t give their teams and their employers their best.

Kentucky punter Landon Foster punts during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 21-13. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Studies are great, but they don’t paint colorful, personal pictures of real people who, for whatever reason, don’t live up to their highest potential. We must admit by now that this fear has slowed the progress of equality on both political and personal levels and the Return on Equality on corporate America’s bottom line.

Landon Foster was a punter for the University of Kentucky from 2012 to 2015. Over those years, Foster was All-American on the field and two-time Academic All-American off the field. The summer before he graduated college, June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide and Kim Davis, just 20 minutes from where Foster played, refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. This turn of events coupled with his first same-sex relationship and talks with NFL agents on the heels of Michael Sam’s public coming out, made Foster’s senior year especially challenging.

For those and other reasons, Foster chose not to come out as a gay man while he played college football and to not pursue an NFL career. Rather, he’s pursued a career in financial services by earning his graduate degree at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt. On this >Queer Money, Foster shares how he’s turning his regret into opportunity and why he thinks athletes are particularly skilled for careers in financial services.

Hear Foster’s take on how he’s advancing inclusion in sports and financial services:

Why we need more athletes and queer people in financial services

With so many queer people struggling financially, the average income of a financial services professional being $90,000 and queer people showing higher levels of empathy, an important trait in business, recruiting more queer people into financial services would be mutually beneficial.

Foster shares that athletes, as well, are particularly suited for financial services. For him particularly, transitioning from playing football to creating a winning strategy with money is a logical step. A financial services career appeals to him because it’s as objective as ‘they scored, we scored.’ It’s as technical as a double reverse and a flea flicker. These are traits that helped him on the field and will help him in his career.

These same skills could help other retired athletes excel in financial services, too. The fact that he’s also a gay man with a possible higher level of empathy will increase his value to his clients and his firm. It’s for these reasons that we believe other retired LGBTQ athletes should consider careers in financial services.

Foster agrees.

Why we need more inspirational people in the workplace

Foster shared his new-found courage in a recent Ted Talk. Though the message and the platform were daunting, Foster believes that everyone reaches a point in lives where they should give back and inspire others; we should all make other people’s journeys easier.

Foster wants to inspire gay and lesbian – hopefully even trans – people with his challenge of being a queer athlete in college at the top of his game. He’s putting himself out as someone who regrets not coming out sooner, while actively playing football, with the hope of giving younger athletes the courage to be themselves.

It’s Foster’s mission to increase inclusion in all sports. For now, queer athletes must balance the pressures of their sports careers and being LGBTQ. Whether they choose to come out on their own or are outed, they risk having their lives upended, losing their careers, their incomes and support systems.

Since coming out, Foster’s received support from his University of Kentucky fans, friends, family and teammates. If people don’t accept him now, they haven’t voiced it. Would he have received such acceptance if he came out during his football career remains a question? Foster wishes he would’ve initiated this conversation sooner.

Foster’s regret, though, may be to the business world’s advantage. Investment banking has historically been a boy’s club and, though financial services has made progress toward inclusion, there’s still progress to be made. Foster hopes to use his platform built from division one college football and his Ted Talk to promote inclusion in financial services.

This will benefit all businesses because we need more queer business leaders. It’s good for both the queer community and it’s good for business. The current problem many in the queer community face is they’ve strategically navigated to where it’s comfortable and safe. P.T. Barnum said, “Comfort is the enemy of progress,” and the queer community doesn’t need more enemies or less progress.

Why we need more queer people in professional sports

Foster’s well-acquainted with Michael Sam’s experience trying to join the NFL. Consequently, he felt it wasn’t possible to be both a professional football player and be out. Foster says, “That’s really tough to admit but the thought was definitely in my head.”

Foster’s internal debate was whether to pursue a career in the NFL and risk having his life torn apart if he came out electively or was outed against his will or put football behind him and avoid any ramifications of being gay in the NFL. Foster opted for a better personal life. “Whether that was right or wrong, I ultimately valued my personal life over football,” he says. If professional football was friendlier to the LGBTQ community on the field and in the locker room, who’s to say what Foster would’ve chosen for himself and the value he could’ve brought to a team and the NFL.

Despite his struggles, Foster believe it’s getting better for queer people in sports, pointing to people such as Robbie Rogers, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon. These improvements are often in isolation, though. The steps toward inclusion today are often individual, in terms one’s sport, region and or team culture. “You can be from an inner city, play on a team with a player who has a gay brother and there’s an acceptance. However, just across the street, a team may be openly hostile to queer people,” Foster says.

Foster warns, however, of applying broad brush strokes over certain sports and regions because he says, LGBTQ-acceptance is unique to the culture created within teams and from the top down. Take, for example, basketball. The WNBA has shown a lot of support for its out players. The NBA, on the other hand, has room for improvement. To be fair, though, the NBA has participated in New York City’s Pride parade and has partnered with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

Like people in business, athletes who at the peak of their careers put energy – too much energy – into hiding their LGBTQ-status, ultimately deny their team, fans and, most importantly, themselves of the best they can offer. In 2018, there’s no valid reason for that on or off the field. Foster’s changing that.

' contentScore="7130">

Studies show that 61% of Americans are hiding some parts of themselves at work. Studies also show that employees who waste energy hiding any part of themselves don’t give their teams and their employers their best.

Kentucky punter Landon Foster punts during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 21-13. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Studies are great, but they don’t paint colorful, personal pictures of real people who, for whatever reason, don’t live up to their highest potential. We must admit by now that this fear has slowed the progress of equality on both political and personal levels and the Return on Equality on corporate America’s bottom line.

Landon Foster was a punter for the University of Kentucky from 2012 to 2015. Over those years, Foster was All-American on the field and two-time Academic All-American off the field. The summer before he graduated college, June 2015, the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide and Kim Davis, just 20 minutes from where Foster played, refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. This turn of events coupled with his first same-sex relationship and talks with NFL agents on the heels of Michael Sam’s public coming out, made Foster’s senior year especially challenging.

For those and other reasons, Foster chose not to come out as a gay man while he played college football and to not pursue an NFL career. Rather, he’s pursued a career in financial services by earning his graduate degree at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt. On this >Queer Money, Foster shares how he’s turning his regret into opportunity and why he thinks athletes are particularly skilled for careers in financial services.

Hear Foster’s take on how he’s advancing inclusion in sports and financial services:

Why we need more athletes and queer people in financial services

With so many queer people struggling financially, the average income of a financial services professional being $90,000 and queer people showing higher levels of empathy, an important trait in business, recruiting more queer people into financial services would be mutually beneficial.

Foster shares that athletes, as well, are particularly suited for financial services. For him particularly, transitioning from playing football to creating a winning strategy with money is a logical step. A financial services career appeals to him because it’s as objective as ‘they scored, we scored.’ It’s as technical as a double reverse and a flea flicker. These are traits that helped him on the field and will help him in his career.

These same skills could help other retired athletes excel in financial services, too. The fact that he’s also a gay man with a possible higher level of empathy will increase his value to his clients and his firm. It’s for these reasons that we believe other retired LGBTQ athletes should consider careers in financial services.

Foster agrees.

Why we need more inspirational people in the workplace

Foster shared his new-found courage in a recent Ted Talk. Though the message and the platform were daunting, Foster believes that everyone reaches a point in lives where they should give back and inspire others; we should all make other people’s journeys easier.

Foster wants to inspire gay and lesbian – hopefully even trans – people with his challenge of being a queer athlete in college at the top of his game. He’s putting himself out as someone who regrets not coming out sooner, while actively playing football, with the hope of giving younger athletes the courage to be themselves.

It’s Foster’s mission to increase inclusion in all sports. For now, queer athletes must balance the pressures of their sports careers and being LGBTQ. Whether they choose to come out on their own or are outed, they risk having their lives upended, losing their careers, their incomes and support systems.

Since coming out, Foster’s received support from his University of Kentucky fans, friends, family and teammates. If people don’t accept him now, they haven’t voiced it. Would he have received such acceptance if he came out during his football career remains a question? Foster wishes he would’ve initiated this conversation sooner.

Foster’s regret, though, may be to the business world’s advantage. Investment banking has historically been a boy’s club and, though financial services has made progress toward inclusion, there’s still progress to be made. Foster hopes to use his platform built from division one college football and his Ted Talk to promote inclusion in financial services.

This will benefit all businesses because we need more queer business leaders. It’s good for both the queer community and it’s good for business. The current problem many in the queer community face is they’ve strategically navigated to where it’s comfortable and safe. P.T. Barnum said, “Comfort is the enemy of progress,” and the queer community doesn’t need more enemies or less progress.

Why we need more queer people in professional sports

Foster’s well-acquainted with Michael Sam’s experience trying to join the NFL. Consequently, he felt it wasn’t possible to be both a professional football player and be out. Foster says, “That’s really tough to admit but the thought was definitely in my head.”

Foster’s internal debate was whether to pursue a career in the NFL and risk having his life torn apart if he came out electively or was outed against his will or put football behind him and avoid any ramifications of being gay in the NFL. Foster opted for a better personal life. “Whether that was right or wrong, I ultimately valued my personal life over football,” he says. If professional football was friendlier to the LGBTQ community on the field and in the locker room, who’s to say what Foster would’ve chosen for himself and the value he could’ve brought to a team and the NFL.

Despite his struggles, Foster believe it’s getting better for queer people in sports, pointing to people such as Robbie Rogers, Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon. These improvements are often in isolation, though. The steps toward inclusion today are often individual, in terms one’s sport, region and or team culture. “You can be from an inner city, play on a team with a player who has a gay brother and there’s an acceptance. However, just across the street, a team may be openly hostile to queer people,” Foster says.

Foster warns, however, of applying broad brush strokes over certain sports and regions because he says, LGBTQ-acceptance is unique to the culture created within teams and from the top down. Take, for example, basketball. The WNBA has shown a lot of support for its out players. The NBA, on the other hand, has room for improvement. To be fair, though, the NBA has participated in New York City’s Pride parade and has partnered with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).

Like people in business, athletes who at the peak of their careers put energy – too much energy – into hiding their LGBTQ-status, ultimately deny their team, fans and, most importantly, themselves of the best they can offer. In 2018, there’s no valid reason for that on or off the field. Foster’s changing that.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/debtfreeguys/2018/09/13/what-landon-fosters-been-doing-since-retiring-from-football/

What Landon Foster's Been Doing Since Retiring From Kentucky Football And Coming Out
USA v Brazil: international friendly – live!