Brendan Ayanbadejo: Carl Nassib seems like the right guy to carry the torch

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
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Brendan Ayanbadejo married his wife, Natalee, in 2003, and the couple have three children. But during his 10 NFL seasons, Ayanbadejo became one of the league’s first — and most — outspoken advocates for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

So Ayanbadejo, who last played in 2012, applauded from the sideline when Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay Monday.

“Carl seems like the right guy to carry the torch,” Ayanbadejo told Ryan Mink of the Ravens’ team website Wednesday. “He’s an established guy. He’s a veteran player. I think he’s the perfect candidate to normalize what a gay male in the NFL is.”

In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player ever drafted, but he never played a regular-season game. Nassib has played 73 games in five seasons, making him the first active player ever to come out as gay.

NFL players, former players, the NFL, the Raiders and many other NFL teams have tweeted their support of Nassib.

“I think we have to take the approach that it matters until it doesn’t matter anymore,” Ayanbadejo said. “We get more progressive and more accepting as times goes by. I think we’re trying to go from a point of tolerance to acceptance. They are two very different things.

“Like with Jackie Robinson being the first Black player in the MLB, Carl is going to be the first openly gay player to play in a regular-season game. Hopefully, we get to a point where it doesn’t even register, but we’re not there yet. These watershed moments, we have to celebrate and acknowledge them. Hopefully in 10 years, if there are a bunch of guys that are gay, we don’t even talk about it. Maybe it’s 10 years or maybe it’s one year. I don’t know, but the sooner the better.”

Ayanbadejo now has his own company, West Coast Fitness, which operates 55 Orangetheory Fitness locations mostly in California.

11 responses to “Brendan Ayanbadejo: Carl Nassib seems like the right guy to carry the torch

  1. it’s KIND of like Jackie Robinson.. . except many gay players have already played in the NFL… they just weren’t out at the time…

  2. Ayanbadejo owns 55 gyms?

    That’s impressive. He invested his money wisely, unlike most NFL players.

  3. Very smart comments from a person who was in the same industry and a former coworker.

  4. I don’t understand why everyone needs to have an identity. You have a job. You’re either good at it or not. Beyond that it is nobody’s business.

  5. “We’re going to go from tolerance to acceptance.”

    No, we’re not. “Tolerance” is to treat equally, despite disagreeing. That is, and should be, the end game.

    You cannot force anyone to “Accept” anything, no matter how virtuous you believe it to be.

  6. Happy to see all the support shown to Nassib. But, where was all the love and support when for Michael Sam? Never remember his being shown support and acceptance or called courageous. He was a good player who wasn’t given the opportunity because of who he was. What changed??

  7. neurorit says:
    What rights do non-LGBT people have that LGBT people don’t have?
    Depending on the US State, many.

  8. neurorit says:
    June 22, 2021 at 7:43 pm
    What rights do non-LGBT people have that LGBT people don’t have?

    7 7 Rate This


    Wow. Just immature and sad. Marriage rights in some states, constant discrimination in careers, shopping, at restaurants, and the list goes on and on.

    This is like saying blacks are on equal footing as whites and ignoring race based legislation for decades upon decades.

    Please get to college and leave your basement.

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