One day there will be a gay Jackie Robinson. An openly gay athlete in a major American sport who's a great and popular player who helps revolutionize the way Americans view gay people. Knowing a gay person, even if only via TV, is a strong predictor of accepting gay people and gay rights so well known people coming out is an important part of making life better for others. But for now there are gay men in the NFL, NBA, and MLB who feel they're unable to come out. The NFL seems a particularly complicated place for this to change given the extreme masculinity and the physicality of the sport. But an openly gay NFL star would destroy perceptions that gay men aren't real men, aren't tough and strong. Recently at a party I fell into a fascinating conversation with Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback who earlier this year came out of the closet after his playing days. He told me that there are gay men in the NFL now who one might call, semi-open: they are known to be gay by their teammates who are accepting because their homosexuality is not well-known and thus not something they must answer questions about. Davis said the reason why gays are able to exist in the NFL is because of the camaraderie that exists among all athletes.
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