Brendan Ayanbadejo #51 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports
While backtracking from a statement in which he suggested the Baltimore Ravens cut him because of his gay rights activism, Brendon Ayanbadejo said that a group of four NFL players could come out at the same time in order to "share the backlash" that might accompany such an announcement.
The tidbit was included in a Baltimore Sun story about Ayanbadejo's continued support for the Ravens, even after his release. One day earlier, the linebacker and special teams stalwart insinuated that his outspoken views on gay rights played a role in getting cut. He clarified that statement by saying he "loves the Ravens" and thinks his release had to do with football and finances, not his views.
But it was a quote buried at the bottom of the piece that was most interesting. Ayanbadejo was asked about his recent statement that an NFL player would come out as gay during his playing career.
"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo told the Baltimore Sun. "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."
This is one of those ideas that's so brilliant it's amazing it hasn't been mentioned it before. There's always strength in numbers. While I don't think the backlash will be as bad as Ayanbadejo expects, spreading out the attention minimizes the media focus. Instead of press hordes in one locker room, they'll have to be in four.
Four men coming out together also sends the powerful message that the gay athlete isn't a novelty, just an underrepresented group that can finally gain acceptance.