It is sometimes astonishing to witness those men and women that dedicate their lives to fair and equal treatment, regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. And as the result of more rumors that an NFL player may come out soon it has called attention to those LGBT allies that support equal rights. Many of them current and former athletes are speaking out calling for their perspective leagues to be welcoming and supporting. Here’s more:
“We want to let this NFL player — or any closeted gay player — know that you have backup. Your community, whether it is your teammates or your fan base is here to support you,” said Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, in a statement. Athlete Ally is a 11,000-member group that works to end homophobia in sports.
NFL linebacker Scott Fujita, who is an Athlete Ally ambassador and most recently played with the Cleveland Browns, added, “The last thing we want to do is pressure someone into coming out or send a message that coming out is in some way better or more courageous than not. Everyone is different and has his or her own way of living life. At the same time, encouraging fans to stand up for inclusion in sports is fundamental to Athlete Ally’s mission and inextricably bound to moments like this.”
“This isn’t about one player, it’s about all of us,” said Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is chairman of the Athlete Ally Advisory Board, in a statement. “It’s about being a good teammate and a loyal fan. It’s about respect and everything the NFL stands for.”
How soon will we see an openly gay man/woman in professional sports? Could it happen this year? Anything is possible. But lets not kid ourselves. National sports leagues are known for their overt homophobia that only in the past few years is publicly reprimanded. That’s what makes allies like this so important because it shows that these men and women can and should be who they are.