Many have wondered what the reaction will be to the first openly gay player in the NFL.
But there are discussions based on reducing the pressure on that player by giving him company.
Outspoken gay-rights advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo, formerly of the Ravens, said there are discussions that could result in as many as four players coming out at once.
“I think it will happen sooner than you think,” Ayanbadejo told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “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.
“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.”
Though Ayanbadjo previously said he could see it happen in baseball first, the reality is, it wouldn’t be hard to come up with many more than four football players in a league of 1,700 men. And having peers would keep any single player from bearing the brunt of the barrier-breaking alone, Jackie Robinson style.
Ayanbadejo said he’s met with NFL vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent, and may talk to players at the rookie symposium.
“I had a great talk with Troy Vincent,” Ayanbadejo said. “The NFL wants to be proactive about what’s going on with players and some of the remarks and incidents that have been happening with the LGBT community.”
The march toward acceptance has been slow, but if what Ayanbadejo predicts happens, it would represent a major leap forward.