NFL football player Brendon Ayanbadejo, recently released by the Baltimore Ravens and a stalwart support of LGBT rights, said in an interview published on Friday that he expects players to begin coming out in the near future.
“I think it will happen sooner than you think,” Ayanbadejo told 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.”
Ayanbadejo said that LGBT issues may have been one of the reasons he was cut from the team, a report published by New York’s Newsday hinted.”¨”¨
The linebacker had been with the team for five years, but saw his contract terminated on Wednesday as the Ravens make a number of offseason moves following their Super Bowl Championship.”¨”¨
He was attending the “Straight for Equality” gala in New York on Thursday night, where he and Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe were honored for their support of marriage equality.”¨”¨
Ayanbadejo told Newsday that his “off the football field” activities may have been a factor in the Ravens’ decision.
“I make a lot of noise and garner a lot of attention for various things off the football field. When that starts happening, why do you have that player around?” he questioned.”¨”¨“I don’t necessarily think that teams want this type of attention.”
“¨”¨But the Ravens front office said they were surprised by the player’s claims, saying that it was a football decision.”¨
“¨“We’re surprised that he would indicate this. We have always been respectful of Brendon’s opinions and his right to express those,” Senior Vice President of Community Relations Kevin Byrne told The Baltimore Sun.
“Our decision regarding his departure from the team has everything to do with football. Nothing else.””¨”¨