Over the past few months there has been scandal and intrigue surrounding the possibility that there could in fact be an openly gay NFL player to emerge. We’ve seen players of football come out after their career in the sport is retired like former Tennessee Titans Wade Davis but no current players have come out. But that may be changing. The debate has heated up as more and more professional athletes have been vocal in their support of LGBT rights and welcoming an openly gay teammate. One of the most vocal, Brendon Ayanbeadejo, is now making the claim that there may not only be one player about to come out of the closet but four current players for the NFL will identify openly as gay men. Here’s more:
“I think it will happen sooner than you think,” Ayanbadejo told Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. “We’re in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they’re trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.”
Ayanbadejo’s claim that as many as four players are currently considering coming out in the near future comes not long after sources told Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com that a current gay player in the NFL was “strongly considering coming out publicly.”
According to Ayanbadejo, NFL organizations and the league itself are “already being proactive” to prepare for a player to come out. If true, the NFL may need to start by addressing the remaining homophobia in locker rooms around the league. For all the positive, progressive work done by players like Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, intolerant comments from players around the league continue to make headlines.”
What would the reaction be from both fans and the media if what Ayanbadejo said is true? Would they be as welcoming and accepting as we’d like them to be? Let’s face it, the media loves a story that they can sensationalize and unfortunately homosexuality is still seen as an exception rather than a normality. What they need to remember however that this is a job like any other. It isn’t Grindr or scruff or some bathhouse, it’s their damn job. No one should have to live in fear of being who they are in this day and age.