An outspoken NFL player who has openly vocalized his support for gay rights and same sex marriage, announced that 4 NFL players are considering coming out.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, announced on Thursday that "up to four (active) players" in the NFL are currently in talks to announce their sexuality and that it might happen "soon."
"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo told Radar Online. "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," he said. "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," he added.
Ayanbadejo, who is now a free agent after being released from NFL 2013 Super Bowl-winning team on Wednesday, shared the news at at the fifth-annual PFLAG National Straight for Equality Awards at New York City's Marriott Marquis. He was given the Straight for Equality in Sports Award for his support of gay rights.
Ayanbadejo said there will likely be "backlash" against the athletes but if they come out collectively the impact of the news may be far less damaging.
"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," he said.
The linebacker said the league is aware of the possible coming out and are prepared to lend their support when needed.
"The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it, and if something negative happens."
Terry Crews, an actor who is a former NFL player, shared his thoughts on NFL players coming out. The Expendables actor compared the coming out to those who would that are in the military. He said gay athletes will likely face "badass machismo" because of the "violent nature" of the sport.
"It's almost like the military," Crews told TMZ.
A former NFL player shocked football fans in January when he was arrested for beating up his former partner. Kwame Harris, a former offensive lineman, was charged with felony domestic violence on Jan. 27 for beating up his ex-boyfriend after a restaurant argument over soy sauce, according to reports. Harris played for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. He has a trial date for the offense later this month.
Harris recently spoke out about the experience of being gay in the NFL. The former NFL player said he "loved" football and that although he identifies himself with being gay he is "not very public about it." He said he didn't see coming out during his career in the NFL as "compatible."
I didn't see those two things as being compatible," Harris told CNN, when asked if he ever considered coming out while playing in the NFL. "But now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently, I would like to think that I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decision."
Harris offered advice for gay athletes who are considering coming out in response to the reports of the impending announcements,.
"I want people -- whether they're gay athletes or athletes who are still in the closet or youth who aren't quite sure of what their sexuality is -- to realize that not only is that not unique but those feelings are common feelings," Harris told Wire. "Don't feel incredibly alone in having these questions."