The broadcast of this year’s Super Bowl XLVI saw the biggest television audience ever, with 111.3 million viewers tuning in. Can you imagine the impact if one of those players had been openly gay? Currently, there are no active NFL players who are, and Outsports’ list of out athletes is short and mostly comprises retired players.
Even though he is no longer in the NFL, Wade Davis’s coming out and sharing his story is an important milestone for LGBT people in sports. He sets an example for young gay athletes everywhere and shows them they’re not alone. In American culture, masculinity is often perceived as a solely heterosexual trait, and football, the apex of masculinity. This stereotype haunted Davis throughout his career, but looking at his life, he certainly proves it wrong.
One of the biggest concerns mentioned when talking about gay athletes is locker room culture. Davis puts those fears to rest: “Those guys are your family and the last thing you want to do to anyone in your family is make them uncomfortable. It’s not even a thought.” Not all straight athletes are worried about locker room culture either. Outsports recently spoke with a dozen NFL players who voiced their support for gay teammates.
What impact do you think an out gay pro-athlete would have on the sports community?