There has been a lot of talk recently about what the backlash would be like for the first NFL player to publicly come out as gay while still in the league. Now, reports are surfacing from former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo that groundwork is being laid for up to 4 players to come out at once. In an hour long interview with The Baltimore Sun, Ayanbadejo discussed the possibility of multiple NFL players coming out as gay in the near future:
"We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it (coming out). 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 statements come after news that his contract was terminated by the Baltimore Ravens yesterday.
The move would be one of the most hectic days in NFL offseason history. Shown by the fact that an article talking about the proposition that players might possibly come out of the closet has shot to the top of many websites most read lists. So, having the attention spread out among players would help to ease the pressure that will be placed upon these potential players. "Of course, there would be backlash. If they could share the backlash, it would be more positive", stated Ayanbadejo. It would also help to spread the issue of LGBT identifying people in professional sports across the country and promote an idea of acceptance in sports without ostracizing the movement within a single region.
Brendon also stated that he is in talks with the NFL Vice President of Player Engagement, Troy Vincent. "The NFL wants to be proactive about what's going on with players and some of the remarks and incidents that have been happening with the LGBT community. The NFL wants me to talk to the rookie class and they are talking about potentially having talks with all the guys about LGBT sensitivity", reported Ayanbadejo.
If nothing else, the fact that Ayanbadejo is in talks with 4 separate players about the possibility of coming out means that the issue remains at the forefront of the NFL. It also serves to disprove those who feel that no LGBT identifying people compete at the professional level. This is a fallacy that continues to dictate how many aspects of sports culture operate. Having professional, out role models to which young LGBT athletes may look up will help to alleviate this.
See what Brendon and fellow NFLer Chris Kluwe had to say about equality at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York below: