No gay NFL player has ever come out to a community that, historically, has stigmatized homosexuality. But that could all change, according to former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Ayanbadejo, an outspoken gay marriage supporter, told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson on Friday that he expects "up to four" NFL players to come out together "sooner than you think."
"We're in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out."
Ayanbadejo added that any backlash would be mitigated if multiple players came out together. "It would be more positive," he said.
"The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens," he said.
Though Ayanbadejo has openly advocated for marriage equality since 2009, his stance garnered attention in 2012, when Maryland Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., penned a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. He argued that Ayanbadejo's political opinions had "no place" in football.
"Football is just my job it's not who I am I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!" Ayanbadejo hit back on Twitter.
Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!— Brendon Ayanbadejo (@brendon310) September 5, 2012