Set your DVRs. Arcadia University sophomore and Bucks County native Joey Kemmerling will share his experience being bullied for being gay tonight on the USA Network documentary NFL Characters Unite. The show couples National Football League players with young victims of bullying so that they can share their story of overcoming discrimination. Kemmerling will be paired with New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.
Here’s a synopsis from the network:
Cruz meets 19-year old Joey Kemmerling, who came out when he was a middle school student. Joey was relentlessly bullied for years because of his sexual orientation. Classmates called him hateful names, physically hurt him and even threatened to light him on fire. The school locker room was a particularly painful and dangerous place for Joey, as much of the taunting took place there. At one point in high school, the situation got so bad that he contemplated suicide. With the support of his mother, Joey was able to move past the homophobia and harassment he experienced and he decided to use his voice to help stop bullying. He launched a youth-led anti-bullying organization, became active with the nonprofit GLSEN and has spoken to groups of students, educators and even members of Congress. Now, thanks to Victor Cruz, he gets an opportunity to clear another hurdle: revisiting a locker room, a place that still conjures up painful memories. Cruz takes Joey on a tour of the New York Giants locker room to help him put the agony of his past truly behind him. Joey gains closure he needs to continue on his path to full recovery and learns to Never Say Never to overcoming his fears.
Catch it when it airs tonight at 7 p.m. on the USA Network.