In a first, the NFL is celebrating Sunday’s National Coming Out Day with a video showing players such as Rob Gronkowski and DeAndre Hopkins voicing their support for any gay or bi teammate who comes out.
In the video, which will initially air during Sunday’s early-game Fox telecasts, former players Ryan O’Callahan, Jeff Rohrer, RK Russell and Wade Davis, all of who came out as gay or bi after retiring, begin by saying: “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we.”
The video then cuts to a string of NFL players responding, “I support you, I got you, we got you, we support you, it takes all of us, and you deserve to be all you.”
The current players who are in the video are, in order of appearance, Anthony Harris (Vikings); Anthony Barr (Vikings); Dalton Risner (Broncos); Calais Campbell (Ravens); Jarvis Landry (Browns); Marlon Humphrey (Ravens); Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers) and DeAndre Hopkins (Cardinals).
Hopkins has a lesbian sister and some of the these other players have voiced support for LGBTQ people in the past, but this is the first time the NFL has publicly acknowledged National Coming Out Day, which is Oct. 11 every year and this year falls on an NFL Sunday.
There have been 14 NFL players who came out as gay or bi after retiring, the latest becoming widely known this week when former Seattle Seahawks defensive back Martin Jenkins, who is gay, was nominated to the California Supreme Court.
This video, along with other initiatives the NFL has planned, is a powerful statement of support in recognizing that any gay or bi player who comes out will have institutional and team support. There has never been an out active player and I doubt one video will cause any player to make the leap, but public shows of support by prominent players do matter.
Here is the complete NFL release:
October is LGBTQ+ History Month, which includes National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) and Spirit Day (Oct. 15). Today, the NFL launches a series of new initiatives designed to engage the LGBTQ+ community.
Included are a dedicated website (NFL.com/PRIDE); a PSA celebrating out NFL Legends and voicing support and allyship; expanded partnerships with GLAAD and The Trevor Project; a PRIDE-themed NFL shield; and an assortment of LGBTQ+ content airing on NFL Network throughout October. Additionally, NFL Executive Vice President, Football Operations, TROY VINCENT penned an op-ed on NFL.com
“The LGBTQ+ community is an important audience for our sport and a critical part of the NFL family,” said JONATHAN BEANE, NFL Chief Diversity Officer. “We continually strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.”
National Coming Out Day
On Sunday, the NFL will debut a powerful new Public Service Announcement with support from The Trevor Project. According to Trevor’s research, LGBTQ+ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40 percent less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year. The PSA will feature NFL Legends WADE DAVIS, RYAN O’CALLAGHAN, RYAN RUSSELL, and JEFF ROHRER, alongside current NFL players ANTHONY BARR, CALAIS CAMPBELL, ROB GRONKOWSKI, ANTHONY HARRIS, MARLON HUMPHREY, DEANDRE HOPKINS, JARVIS LANDRY, and DALTON RISNER sharing their support and allyship for the LGBTQ+ community.
In an NFL.com op-ed, Vincent discusses his commitment to foster a welcoming and safe environment to active NFL players who are contemplating coming out.
On Thursday, the NFL will join the pledge to “go purple” to support LGBTQ+ youth in a united stand against bullying. In partnership with GLAAD, NFL Network talent will wear and feature the color purple on set to show solidarity with youth and to take part in the largest, most visible LGBTQ+ anti-bullying campaign in the world. To learn more about Spirit Day: http://glaad.org/spiritday.
LGBTQ+ History Month
Throughout the month, NFL Network will also re-air LGBTQ+ themed programming including, Jeff Rohrer: Trailblazer, Esera Tuaolo: Life After Football, and Vince Lombardi: Ally.
To keep fans engaged with PRIDE year-around, the League launched NFL.com/PRIDE. The website will serve as a dedicated repository for PRIDE-related content, as well as provide links to additional LGBTQ+ resources.
GLAAD & The Trevor Project
In a continued effort to promote inclusion and diversity, the NFL has expanded its partnerships with both The Trevor Project and GLAAD, to bring their industry-leading expertise in the LGBTQ+ space to the League and all 32 clubs.
About NFL PRIDE
NFL PRIDE is an employee resource group that aims to heighten the visibility and celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community across NFL offices and teams so that employees of all gender identities and sexual orientations can feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace. Through networking events, guest speakers, community outreach and employee education, NFL PRIDE will serve LGBTQ+ employees and their “allies” in supporting a culture of inclusion. NFL PRIDE also helps provide perspective and advise on League initiatives relating to the LGBTQ+ community and helps administer an Advisory Working Group consisting of players, staff and advocacy partners.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, and offers free, 24/7 crisis counseling to LGBTQ+ youth via phone, text, and chat. To learn more about how to support LGBTQ youth, visit www.TRVR.org/Resources.
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ+ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.