Ryan O’Callaghan, the former NFL player who came out as gay publicly last year, has told Outsports he is disgusted by the reported questions about sexual orientation asked by at least one team at this year’s NFL Combine.
O’Callaghan’s worry stems from his own time preparing for the NFL Draft. In 2006 he himself was a prospect doing all he could to be one of the names announced in the seven-round draft. He was deeply closeted at the time, having shared his secret with no one.
“It would have scared the shit out of me,” O’Callaghan told Outsports. “I played football as a cover for being gay, and I thought that kind of stuff would have never gotten asked in the NFL. I always assumed the coaches would just assume everyone was straight.”
O’Callaghan has talked publicly about having had intentions to kill himself because he was gay. He had even taken it as far as writing a suicide note and buying guns.
“I would assume that they would have just been asking me because they knew something about me,” he said. “I wasn’t going to go around asking other guys if they got asked the same thing.”
Since coming out publicly, O’Callaghan says he has been contacted by many gay athletes struggling with their sexual orientation, including NFL prospects in the draft this year. He would never reveal any part of their identity, but he sees the importance of making people aware that, whether you think gay people are in the room or not, they most definitely are.
“I pray they were not asked these questions,” O’Callaghan said.