Four gay NFL players could be coming out very soon, one player with close ties to the LGBT community has said.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker and special teams star Brendon Ayanbedejo has been a public supporter of gay rights and marriage equality issues, and said this week that a small group of gay NFL players are considering coming out in the near future.
“I think it will happen sooner than you think,” Ayanbadejo told 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.”
Ayanbaedjo’s prediction comes on the heels of a report from Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com that a gay NFL player was considering coming out in the next few months. The identity of the player is still under wraps, but Freeman wrote that sources close to the player think now is the best time for him to come out.
While players and LGBT activists have speculated about the locker room difficulties of an openly gay player, the player in question is more concerned with the reaction of fans.
There would seem to be support building for the gay NFL players if they did some out. While some players, including the San Francisco 49ers Chris Culliver, said that a gay player would not be welcome in the locker room, a growing number of others are supportive. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and free agent linebacker Scott Fujita have joined Ayanbedejo in vocally supporting LGBT issues.
Former49ers and Raiders offensive lineman Kwame Harris spoke last month with CNN about being gay, saying he wished he had come out while he was playing.
“But now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently, I would like to think that I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decision,” Harris said.
Ayabadejo said the NFL is already preparing for the gay NFL players to come out.