Photo: SB Nation
Openly gay former NFL player Wade Davis revealed the harsh realities of being gay in the NFL in a fantastic SB Nation interview today.An interesting moment came when reporter Amy K. Nelson asked him if he thought a non-star should be the first player to publicly come out.
Here’s how Davis answered initially:
“I’m going to be flat out honest with you, it probably shouldn’t if he wants to keep his job. If he’s the 53rd man on the roster, if he’s a free agent who’s fighting for a job, maybe he shouldn’t.”
But after about 40 seconds, Davis caught himself and expressed support for anyone who wants to come out publicly:
“You know what, yes, it should be. Screw it. I don’t want to be in the business of telling anyone they can’t live their life authentically.”
The big takeaway from the interview is that the threat of being ostracized — the fear of your teammates turning their backs on you — is what kept Davis from coming out to his teammates.
He went through great lengths to maintain the charade of heterosexuality. He described how he once spent $1,500 at a strip club so people would think he was straight. He also told OutSports.com today that he would go to brothels with his teammates when he was playing football in Europe and pay women $100 to just sit and talk.
“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family. Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with [former teammates] Jevon [Kearse] and Samari [Rolle]. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”
Davis, who’s 34-years-old, now works with LGBTQ youth and the Obama campaign.
You should really check both of them out if you have time.
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