Homosexuality in sports has been a hot-button issue for a very long time. Odds are that there are lots of professional athletes currently playing who are gay, but are too afraid to admit it.
Perhaps the openness of former NFL player Wade Davis will change that.
Davis, who spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, but never officially made a 53-man roster, is making a big impact in life after football. The former defensive back recently revealed that he is gay in an interview with OutSports.com.
He said that he was aware of his sexual orientation while trying to make an NFL roster and while playing in NFL Europe, but he was afraid that admitting it would hurt his chances of playing in the league. Thanks to his current work with LGBTQ youth, however, Davis has finally decided to come out to the world and embrace his lifestyle publicly.
In one respect, you could say that Davis not revealing that he was gay during his playing career will deter other athletes from coming out. At the same time, though, the world is becoming more and more accepting of homosexuality with each passing day, so it may not be as big of an issue as it was even a few years ago.
According to Marc Sessler of NFL.com, a dozen current and former players said last month that they wouldn't care if one of their teammates came out as gay. While it may be easy to say that when not actually faced with the situation, I believe that being gay has become less of an issue and would even wager that the majority of teammates would be accepting of it.
In the NFL, perhaps more than any other professional sports league, being openly gay would be very difficult. Football is viewed by most as the manliest game in the country, so there is no doubt that there would be some degree of backlash if a player were to come out. At the same time, though, that player would be viewed as a pioneer and could open the door for so many others.
It might have taken Davis some time to come out, but he should still serve as an inspiration to current NFL players who are hiding their homosexuality. Knowing that there was a gay player like Davis trying to break into the league should serve as a source of comfort for some. Davis' fears are likely the same as current players who are living under a guise, but now those players have somebody to relate to.
For the past couple of years, it has been speculated that an active player in a major sports league would reveal that he is openly gay. Thanks to Davis and other brave individuals, that day may be approaching in the NFL. Considering the fact that there are 32 teams in the league and 53 players on every team, statistics alone suggest that there are several gay players in the NFL.
Whether or not they want to reveal that to the public is completely their choice, but it's possible that Davis has made it a little easier. Davis has helped open a door, but it will be up to a current player to carry the torch.
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