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Wade Davis II
Wade Davis is a thought leader, advocate, writer, public speaker, and educator on gender, race, and orientation equality.

Davis played for the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as for two different teams within the NFL Europe league. In 2014, Davis began consulting for the NFL to ensure that LGBT athletes have a safe and affirming space.

In his role as Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination, sexism, and homophobia in sports, Davis works to develop curriculum, programming, training, and conversations that are focused on inclusion and diversity. The You Can Play Project has partnerships and/or relationships with organizations and leagues including the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, WWE, and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

As an educator, Davis was an Adjunct Professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business in 2014. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration, and has lectured on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and sports at universities nationally and internationally. Davis is the former assistant director of academic enrichment and work readiness for The Hetrick-Martin Institute, where he taught at-promise LGBT youth how to define success.

In 2013, with co-founder Darnell Moore, Davis created the YOU Belong Initiative, an organization that offers LGBTQ and straight-allied youth a series of comprehensive sports instruction and leadership development clinics. As part of YOU Belong, Davis also began the Speakers’ Collective, which provides support, promotion, and a sense of community for LGBTQ professionals of color.

During the 2012 Presidential election, Davis was an official LGBT Surrogate for President Obama, and is currently both a HeForShe UN Women Ambassador and a U.S. State Department Speaker Specialist. In these roles, Davis continues to travel nationally and internationally to address issues of gender, race, sexuality and class in the interest of promoting diversity and inclusion in all level of amateur and professional sports.

Davis is a frequent guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, CNN, ESPN, and BET. His essays and writings have appeared in media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the Advocate, Huffington Post, the New York Times, Ebony, the Guardian, and the White House Blog.

Davis has spoken at and/or provided workshops and trainings at over 100 colleges, universities and corporations nationally and internationally including, Stanford University, Penn State University, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, Fox, Pepsi Co, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank.

Since his retirement from the NFL, Davis has owned InMotion Media, a media business through a partnership with The New York Times.

Davis was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2014 Davis received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Northeastern University for his leadership and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia and sexism in athletics.

Entries by Wade Davis II

The Beautiful Discomfort of John Ridley's American Crime

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 9:13 PM

When many of us reach for our television remotes, we also grab our cell phones, computers or iPads to connect to Twitter, Facebook or some other social media site to engage with millions around the world as we tune in to our favorite shows. Watching television while interacting on social...

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Family Business

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 1:17 PM

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman." As our country celebrates his life and work this week, this quotation makes me think about health and health care through the lens of solidarity, about the ways...

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A Numbers Game: Making An NFL Roster

(3) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 5:34 PM

Making an NFL team's 53-man roster starts in training camp. According to NFL rules, each team can only have 90 players when training camp starts. The 90-man roster consists of players from the previous year, drafted and undrafted rookies and free agents from other teams. The process that all teams...

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Tongues Untied: Is Fly Young Red's Newest Track Revolutionary?

(5) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Along with the three co-authors listed, Bryson Rose, writer and LGBTQIA youth advocate, also participated in this conversation.

Wade: I'm sure you've heard the new song, "Throw Dat Boy P****" by black gay male rapper Fly Young Red. I thought his new song and the buzz around it...

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Speculation as Sport: Rumors, Gossip and Outing in the Sports World

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 6:45 PM

Our societal obsession with the personal lives and sexual preferences of entertainers has always been par for the course and something that many entertainers, I imagine, have come to expect and in many ways accept. Now this reckless fascination and speculation has bled into the world of sports and become...

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Tongues Untied: Shade Culture -- Throwing Shade, Reflecting Light

(2) Comments | Posted March 29, 2013 | 9:00 AM

Darnell: I recently read a powerful article titled "A Love Letter to Brothers," published in Mused Magazine Online, written by my friend Dymir Arthur. In it Dymir encourages black gay men to love ourselves (and each other) and to rid our communities of "shade." While it would be...

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Tongues Untied: Pro Athletes, Sexuality and Media Hype

(5) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 9:05 PM

Darnell: Wade, I could not wait to get your thoughts on some of the recent headlines dominating sports news outlets. From the current publicity on the Denver Nuggets' Kenneth "The Manimal" Faried's moving video in support of his lesbian mothers to the Manti Te'o media fiasco...

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A Letter Of Solidarity

(2) Comments | Posted January 1, 2013 | 8:21 AM

This letter is part of our "Letters to Our Ancestors" project. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we've asked black political leaders, writers and critics to share their own letters to our forefathers. With these letters, we hope to look back on the progress our community...

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Tongues Untied: Our Fathers -- Invisible Men?

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 11:21 AM

Wade: Recently, while speaking to some friends about my upbringing, one asked, "Why do you not talk about your relationship with your father more?" It was an observant and valid question. It caused me to pause and think about my relationship with both my biological father and my stepfather. It...

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To End AIDS Among Black Gay and Bi Men, There's a Need for Action

(7) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 9:22 AM

The face of AIDS as imagined by some in America is that of a black gay or bisexual man. Indeed, black gay and bisexual men, or men who have sex with men (MSM), have the highest HIV rates in the country. Black MSM are commonly portrayed as as "down low...

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Tongues Untied: Black, Gay and Sanctified?

(4) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 6:23 PM

Darnell: I think that it is fair to say that you and I are what some might call "church boys." I know that some Christian folks tend to place "God" and "gay" in the same sentence when they are referencing "sin" and "hell," but faith and spirituality are important to...

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Mitt Romney's Anxieties: Fear of Democratic Leadership, or, Fear of Black and Brown America?

(83) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 9:39 AM

Mitt Romney's neoconservative belief that a US Congress with a majority Democratic
leadership--leaders who tend to be voted in by a large black and brown voting bloc--speaks to
the elephant (or, republican) in the room this election year.

Romney offered the following observation at a private fundraising dinner...

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Tongues Untied: When Even Beautiful Gay Weddings Aren't Enough

(13) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 8:26 PM

Wade: Recently, a video of the wedding of Robert Brown and Nathanael Gay, two black gay men, went viral. I almost cried while watching it but was saddened by the negative reaction the two gentlemen received for having a "Kappa-themed" wedding. How did you feel about the wedding...

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Coming Out: Is It All About You?

(9) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 10:12 AM

Though I can remember almost everything about that day, from my mother's facial expression to her subtle physical responses, only recently have I tried to understand her reactions and consider her feelings throughout my coming-out process.

James Baldwin said it best: "Everybody's journey is individual," and that was definitely...

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Tongues Untied: 'Complex' Relationships: On Love and Violence in LGBTQ Relationships

(11) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 8:29 PM

Darnell: Wade, we recently watched a segment of The CW's increasingly popular The LA Complex where rapper Kaldrick King (played by Andra Fuller) brutally beat a man, Tariq (played by Benjamin Charles Watson), whom he worked with and was intimately involved with. You mentioned...

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Tongues Untied: Love Rules?

(4) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 12:15 PM

We know what you are thinking: Not another conversation on love. We promise, however, that for every saccharine-laced word that follows (thanks to one of our early readers, Larry Lyons, for warning us that our love notes might very well cause toothaches), we were sure to talk about the whips...

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Tongues Untied: 'Man Hugs' and Manhood With Sylvia Harvey

(10) Comments | Posted August 15, 2012 | 2:11 PM

Men seem to hug on the basketball courts or show affection on the football field, but why are some men afraid to embrace on a busy street corner? Sylvia Harvey, journalist and producer of the mini-doc Out of Bounds, which is a short work that "explores the strange...

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Tongues Untied: On 'Barbershop Conversations,' Black Masculinity, and Sexuality

(20) Comments | Posted July 27, 2012 | 2:57 PM

This is our second conversation as part of our Huffington Post series, "Tongues Untied: Wade Davis, II and Darnell L. Moore in Conversation." (Read the first conversation here.) The title of our column is our way of paying tribute to the many black gay men who have given...

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Tongues Untied: On 'Coming Out,' Anderson Cooper, and Frank Ocean

(32) Comments | Posted July 6, 2012 | 9:16 AM

This is our first conversation as part of our Huffington Post series, "Tongues Untied: Wade Davis, II and Darnell L. Moore in Conversation." The title of our column is our way of paying tribute to the many black gay men who have given us the language and ancestral strength to...

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An Open Letter to Young LGBT Athletes

(13) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 11:17 AM

Dear young athletes,

It is 6:40 a.m. I am sitting at my computer thinking about what to write to you, and I am afraid.

I'm afraid that my words won't be powerful enough. I fear that everything that is in my heart will not find its way out and have...

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