American football player and equal rights advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo has said that he thinks several NFL players could come out “sooner than you think”, and that he was in talks with four players who might all come out on the same day.
The Super Bowl Champion said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that he hoped that several gay NFL players might come out soon, and that it would help them share the burden if they did it at the same time.
“I think it will happen sooner than you think,” he said. “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.”
The 36-year-old went on to say that he thought there could be a “backlash”, but was positive in saying that he thought the NFL and other organisations could be equipped to deal with it, and that they could deal with the situation if necessary.
“Of course, there would be backlash. If they could share the backlash, it would be more positive. It’s cool. It’s exciting. We’re in talks with a few guys who are considering it. The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens. We’ll see what happens.”
Ayanbadejo was in the headlines just yesterday, as he was quoted as having said that his former team the Baltimore Ravens may have cut him from their roster because of his equal marriage advocacy.
Both the Ravens and Ayanbadejo have denied that this was true, and Ayanbadejo said he was misquoted in the interview.
“We’re surprised that he would indicate this. We have always been respectful of Brendon’s opinions and his right to express those,” Baltimore Ravens senior vice president for public and community relations Kevin Byrne said in a statement. “Our decision regarding his departure from the team has everything to do with football. Nothing else.”
Ayanbadejo gave another interview denying that he thougt he was cut because of his views, in which he said: “The Ravens have been backing me, they knew my stance for years and have been facilitating me and organizing me with LGBT and set me up with Equality Maryland. They helped me.”
Last week, Ayanbadejo appeared outside the Supreme Court last week to rally in favour of equal marriage. The Human Rights Campaign tweeted a quote from the athlete which read: ”‘In the end, love is always going to win the game’ -Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Chris Kluwe, a punter for the Minnsota Vikings, made the headlines in September when he defended Ayanbadejo against a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group In October 2011.
Ayanbadejo previously said he hoped that homophobic comments by fellow NFL player, Chris Culliver would open a positive dialogue about gay players in the NFL, and in November, upon waking to find that Maryland voters had chosen to legalise equal marriage in the state, Ayanbadejo said it was “like Christmas”.