ESPN recently polled its readers about gay people in professional sports and found out that, well, people are still kind of homophobic (surprise!). One poll found that 56 percent of its readers think a player coming out while still a pro athelete would be a "selfish act" that would divide the locker room.
Still, those numbers might not stop a team of four gay football players from coming out in unison.
"I think it will happen sooner than you think," outspoken equality advocate and just-fired Baltimore Ravens reserve linbacker Brendon Ayanbadejo told the Baltimore Sun. "We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it."
Ayanbadejo later clarified on CNN that the "talks" were in preliminary stages and that some of the gay players hadn't even agreed to the supposed plan yet. He also acknowledged that the decision could cause backlash from the public.
But Ayanbadejo's words have already caused backlash from an unexpected place: the gay community.
Over at OutSports, co-founder Cyd Zeigler argues that the rumor-mongering will inevitably hurt closested gay players.
...this kind of speculation doesn't help anyone...it pushes athletes deeper into the closet and makes them more scared of every move they make. No one wins in this.
Also worth noting, Ayanbadejo has a history of touting, and then later backing away from controversial claims. He hinted to reporters outside of the Straight for Equality Gala in New York that he was let go from the Ravens for being such an outspoken advocate. Later, he backtracked, saying his contract was terminated mostly because he can be replaced by someone half as old for half as much money.
[Photo via CNN.]