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Wade Davis talks about gay NBA, NFL players he knows, reaction if they came out

Wade Davis

Openly gay former NFL player Wade Davis talked with Touré for the Daily Beast about gay professional athletes he knows in the NBA and the NFL. Davis said he knows three in the NFL alone. He said at least one of them is out to his teammates, and the team knows he has a partner. And while Davis once felt being openly gay would be very difficult for an NFL player, his experience of coming out and talking to other guys has changed his perspective.

On whether the gay athlete above brings his partner to team social events:

I don't think the players would have an issue if he brought his partner there. He's just making a choice because it would cause a different type of conversation. And you don't have to deal with that if you don't bring your partner. You can just be one of the guys then. So after a game people are typically waiting. You walk out, your partner's there, you hop in the car and go home.

On whether Sterling Sharpe was correct in 2002, saying that a gay NFL player would be given a season-ending injury by his own teammates:

I don't believe that he was correct. I think if you asked Sterling Sharpe if Brett Favre said he was gay would he have taken Brett Favre out? No way. I think Sterling was thinking this guy would be the last guy on the roster. If Tom Brady said he was gay they wouldn't take Tom Brady out.

On his fears of how the gay "Jackie Robinson" gets treated by the media and major corporations:

I think about that moment a lot and that moment really scares me. I think we exist in a society that's looking for a specific type of player who's gay. Would we need a face of gay athletics who's got gold fronts and dreds? You think that the media and Nike would do all this and that for them? Imagine if this person is someone who didn't go to Stanford, who's maybe not as articulate as we like. Who's like Two Chains. Is he going to be the face of this LGBT sports movement? No. There's not a chance in Hell. And what if this athlete says I'm gay but I want to do my work silently. I'm gay, I've owned it, I've given everyone that. Now I just want to play ball. Is the media going to be ok with that? Are my fellow LGBT sports pundits going to be ok with that?

On whether life would have gotten harder for him if he had come out, and if it will get harder for an out gay athlete now:

It's easy for me to say that now. I've had guys reach out to me and say hey man, I love you, it's cool. But it's easier for them, too, cuz they're not playing. But no one can tell me what happens on the field would change. If a QB comes out and says he's gay will he get hit harder? That's bull. If a wide receiver goes across the middle of the field he's gonna get hit hard regardless. That's just the mentality that you're groomed with from a young age: you have to hit the hardest. You just have to. That mentality is not going to change because someone's gay. There's no way you can say I'm gonna hit this guy harder. You're always trying to hit someone hard! I have my livelihood to maintain. Ronnie Lott's name was made by hitting guys are hard as he could and knocking them out of the game. He didn't know if they were gay or not. He still tried to kill them. Is that going to change because I'm gay? No.

It's a good interview, and Davis is very open in it. But don't expect him to name names; He'll leave that to the athletes themselves.