Huffpost Sports

Brendon Ayanbadejo Backtracks On Claim He Knows Four Gay NFL Players Who Could Come Out Soon

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo during NFL football training camp Friday, July 27, 2012, in Owings Mills, Md.
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo during NFL football training camp Friday, July 27, 2012, in Owings Mills, Md.

Less than 24 hours after garnering attention by claiming to be involved in talks with as many as four gay NFL players who were considering coming out publicly on the same day, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo backtracked a bit.

While discussing his release by the Super Bowl champs and his advocacy of marriage equality and gay rights with The Baltimore Sun on Friday, the 36-year-old generated headlines by asserting that the NFL would have its first openly gay player "sooner than you think."

"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."

In a subsequent interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN on Friday evening, Ayanbadejo tempered expectations, conceding he doesn't actually know the players.

"No, actually, what it is is, is there are organizations I'm in contact with, and there are individuals I'm in contact with and collectively we know of some gay players. And these players, some of them are anonymous, some of them we know who they are, but their identity is super secret and nobody wants to reveal who they are, and some of them don't want to reveal who they are, rightfully so because it's entirely up to them what they are gonna do."

"What we want to facilitate is getting them all together so they can lean on each other, so they can have a support group. And potentially, it's possible, it's fathomable, that they could possibly do something together, and break a story together. And one of them had voiced that he would like to break his story with someone else and not do it alone....Not all these athletes are in the NFL. Some are in other sports as well."

Wade Davis, a gay former NFL player who came out after his career in the league ended, told Cyd Zeigler of Outsports that Ayanbadejo's bold statement could actually frighten gay players.

"I think it makes them hyper vigilant, that if there's anything out there, maybe a picture on Facebook, that someone can read as gay, you immediately get afraid," Davis told Outsports. "I'd be deathly afraid that my cover's blown or maybe I didn't do a good enough job. It would make me really afraid. In some ways, the issue not being talked about it made me feel safer because I never thought, 'Somebody might be wondering about me.'"

In January 2013, Davis told The Daily Beast that he knew of three gay players in the NFL who were semi-open with their teammates.

Related on HuffPost:

Straight Professional Athletes Who’ve Come Out In Support Of LGBT Rights
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Brendon Ayanbadejo (brendon310) on Twitter

Brendon Ayanbadejo backtracks on Ravens comments, says ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo walks back claim of gay NFL players coming ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo says four players considering coming out as ...

Anderson Cooper Talks to Brendon Ayanbadejo About the '4 ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo Is "In Talks With A Handful Of Players Who Are ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo wonders if gay rights activism was a factor in Ravens ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo Says Groundwork Being Laid for Up to Four Gay NFL ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo Was Cut Because He's Old And Expensive, Not Because ...

Did Brendon Ayanbadejo's Activism Cost Him His Job?

Brendon Ayanbadejo believes gay rights activism played factor in release from ...

Brendon Ayanbadejo thinks gay-rights issues one reason he was cut

Brendon Ayanbadejo Does A Double-Take

Ayanbadejo's Bold Stance Proving Gay Rights Issue Is on NFL's Doorstep

Brendon Ayanbadejo: 'Up to four' players considering coming out

 
From Our Partners