Wade Davis meets with St. Louis Rams, prepares them to make history

Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play, was called upon to speak to the St. Louis Rams after they drafted Michael Sam, the first openly gay draft in the NFL.

ESPN reports:

Soon after making the decision to make Michael Sam the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher placed a phone call to an old friend.

On the other end of the line was Wade Davis, a former Titans cornerback who came out in 2012 and is now the executive director of the You Can Play project, which is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes regardless of sexual orientation.

Fisher asked Davis to hop on a plane to St. Louis and deliver that message to his team, his coaching staff and the Rams' front-office staff.

Davis obliged and spent all day Monday talking to the various branches of the Rams organization and back in New York by Tuesday.

"We have a good relationship," Davis said. "After they drafted Sam, he reached out and was like 'Hey, I would like you to deliver a very similar message that you gave at the owners meetings here.' He really thinks it will help his guys understand what it's like to be in the NFL and be gay."

In March, Wade Davis addressed the NFL owners, coaches, and general managers, talking about reducing homophobia in professional football, accepting LGBT players and fans, and equipping coaches and managers to best work with LGBT players.

ESPN shared some of the questions that players asked of Davis, which were very supportive, including "How do we support Michael?" They also share bits of the advice that Davis provided:

  • "If you are walking on eggshells around him thinking you can't say certain things to him then he knows he is being treated differently"
  • "He's still a seventh-round draft pick so he's got to keep that in mind and to make sure he doesn't get caught up in thinking he's someone who he's not."
  • "It probably won't hit him for four or five years. Once he's settled in the league, he's able to step back and kind of that hoopla around him has died down some."