The last few weeks have been significant for the gay rights movement. In mid-March Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting U.S. senator to publicly endorse gay marriage. This was followed by the U.S. Supreme Court hearing two different gay marriage-related cases in one week, sparking the red equality symbol movement on social media and leading to the usual online debates.
Now it appears that even professional sports will become part of the gay rights movement in the U.S. In addition to Mark Cuban's recent statement that he would be "honored" for the Dallas Mavericks to have the first NBA player to come out as gay, rumors have now surfaced that several NFL players will soon be coming out of the closet.
Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens this week. As an outspoken advocate for gay rights, speculation centered on the rumor that Ayanbadejo's release was related to his views. However, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun this week, Ayanbadejo stated that this was not the case, and that the Ravens organization had always supported his outspokenness on the issue.
Ayanbadejo went on to say that gay NFL players will soon be coming out of the closet. In fact, he told the Sun that "the groundwork is being laid" for as many as four NFL players to come out simultaneously, to reduce the pressure on any one player.
"I think it will happen sooner than you think," said Ayanbadejo.
When the story hit, Ayanbadejo took to his Twitter account to defend his views and set the record straight:
I'm really ashamed of the ravens fans and nfl fans spewing this homophobic bullshit on my twitter. Shame on you and shame on your parents
Dick Cass and the @ravens had my back all year. Why would I say I was cut cuz my views? Makes no sense.
(Image courtesy Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons)