In an interview with Outsports.com, former NFL player Wade Davis, 34, spoke about the challenges of being a gay athlete in the NFL where homosexuality is rarely discussed openly.
The former defensive back for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, Wade Davis left the NFL in 2003.
"You just want to be one of the guys, and you don't want to lose that sense of family," Davis told OutSports.com.
"Your biggest fear is that you'll lose that camaraderie and family. ... It's not like they'd like me less, it's that they have to protect their own brand," Davis said.
Davis knew he was gay during his stint in the with the NFL but worried being gay would negatively impact his playing career.
Davis told Outsports.com that he hopes his story will inspire young people who are questioning their sexuality. He now works for the Hetrick-Martin Institute he describes as a “one-stop shop for not only gay and lesbian youth.”
"I started to realize there there's an opportunity here for me to really make and affect change, not only within myself, but within the world."
Despite Davis' fears, Outsports.com found in a recent series of interviews that the majority of NFL players say they would support any NFL player who wants to come out.
Former Tennessee Titan Eddie George said he doesn't care about a players sexuality.
“If that’s what you do, that’s what you do," George said. "
I don’t hate you because of it or dislike you because of it. That’s not my personal preference, but I respect your decision. I’m not going to like you less or not be your friend because of that.”
Cleveland Browns' linebacker Scott Fujita proclaimed his support for gay rights in a 2009 interview with the Huffington Post saying, "By in large in this country the issue of gay rights and equality should be past the point of debate. Really, there should be no debate anymore."