When it comes to sexuality and football, you would think it doesn’t exist. There has yet to be an out athlete running up and down the field playing football. Now, 34-year-old Wade Davis is coming forward about the challenges of being gay in the NFL.
The former NFL cornerback who came out as gay last year after playing with the Tennessee Titans, and later with the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins, from 2000-2004 has started to reflect on his journey. In recent interviews with OutSports and SBNation, Davis talked about the challenges of being closeted in an NFL locker room, life after football and growing up as a gay athlete during high school.
“I think subconsciously, I understood that being gay — the way I was raised — was wrong, and there was no way that my family, at least in my mind, would accept me,” Davis told SBNation’s Amy Nelson. “And also that my football family would (not) accept me just because of the perception of being gay meant that you’re less masculine.”
“There was a part of me that was a little relieved because, when I knew football was over, my life would begin,” Davis said to OutSports. “I had this football life, but I didn’t have another life away from that. Most of the guys had a family and a wife, but I had football and nothing else.”
Davis said he first realized he was gay back in high school. “I can remember being in gym class and having the desire to look at a boy in a way that I should look at girls,” he said.
Davis also opened up about the feelings he had while around his former players. He advises those in the same position to realize nothing will happen because you play football with a gay athlete.
Even back in January, Philly Mag ran an editorial/photo op-ed on gay players in the NFL, Which Eagles and Phillies Are Gay? Philly Mag cited the statistics and relayed the factors to the numbers of players in the league, suggesting that at least 10 percent are gay (reflecting the statistics).
“I think the players have to understand that there’s nothing that’s gonna happen.”
Davis close by saying that during his NFL playing career, he did no take advantage of the privilege of seeing
fine *ss men naked. He mentioned that he never was aroused in the locker room because his teammates were like family, and that’s the last thing that you want to do is make anyone in your family feel uncomfortable.
“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis told OutSports. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon [Kearse] and Samari [Rolle]. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”
Now Davis works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth in New York.
Do you think the NFL is ready for an out athlete? Share your thoughts on his story.