Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo claims that as many as four gay NFL players are considering making their sexual orientation public all at once.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun documented Ayanbadejo's comments in an extensive interview on Friday, as Ayanbadejo discussed the time frame in which the players may come forward:
I think it will happen 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.
The three-time Pro Bowler is a known gay rights activist and expressed appreciation for the team supporting him as he spoke out publicly about the issue. He has even written his own column for the Huffington Post advocating same-sex marriage.
This would obviously be a huge development if these four players come forward, because there are no active players in the NFL (or any professional sport) who are openly gay.
Having several pro football players come out would likely pave the way for other athletes in the public eye to feel more at ease about doing the same.
With all the scrutiny that can come with sexual orientation going against the status quo, there is a great opportunity for athletes who are gay to make a statement and use their platform as public figures to influence opinions on the issue.
Typically, athletes would prefer not to get involved in a politically divisive issue, but the impact such a move could have is hard to fathom considering the popularity of the NFL.
It will certainly be interesting to see where this story goes, but Ayanbadejo should continue to be a driving force behind the scenes.
The 36-year-old was a special teams ace for the defending Super Bowl champions, racking up a team-leading 14 tackles in coverage. He also had a career-high 30 tackles on the defensive side for the Ravens, including a sack.