‘American Crime’ Star Joey Pollari Talks Eric’s Dramatic Decision, Teases What’s Next

“He’s been trying to live up to the expectations of being an athlete and traditional masculinity,” the actor tells TheWrap

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read if you didn’t watch Wednesday’s episode of “American Crime”)

The truth is out after Wednesday’s episode of “American Crime.”

Following a failed suicide attempt, Eric finally admitted that he’s gay, telling his coach that his sexual encounter with Taylor was consensual.

But that doesn’t mean things will get any easier now that he’s out, at least not according to Joey Pollari, who portrays Eric on the ABC drama.

“We’ll see over the next few episodes how he continues to struggle with it after it comes out to the public,” Pollari said in an interview with TheWrap. He added that the athlete will continue to grapple with the weight of other people’s expectations, as well as the expectations he has for himself, as the show’s second season continues.

According to Pollari, the dramatic scene in which Eric and his brother wrestle over a cell phone — which contains explicit texts and emails between him and Taylor — was a moment of harsh reality for the character.

“It came after this really serious moment with his brother,” he said, explaining how the incident led to the character’s decision to wash down a bottle of pills with a bottle of beer. “It felt to him like someone was taking away his power.”

“He’s been trying to live up to the expectations of being an athlete and traditional masculinity, which unfortunately in his mind meant being heterosexual,” he continued.

Part of Pollari’s preparation for the role was with Wade Davis and the You Can Play Project, an organization that combats homophobia in sports, including high school athletics programs.

“It’s going to take years,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s something that needs to be so ingrained.”

“American Crime” airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on ABC.