NFL Plans to Sign Openly Gay Player Fell Apart Last Spring: REPORT


According to a story in Bleacher Report, at least two openly gay players were on the verge of signing with the NFL last spring. You may recall rumors at the time that were floated, but then shot down, by former Ravens player Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Mike Freeman writes:

This past spring, it seemed imminent that barrier was going to collapse with not one, but two players having found teams that would sign them knowing they would come out.

Along with the initial player discussed in this article, there was a fairly well-known defensive back. He drew interest from at least one AFC team that knew he was gay. Coaches on the team were asked if they were OK with a gay player. They were. Some defensive players were casually queried, according to an official on the team. All of the players asked said it wouldn't be an issue. They were not told the name of the player.

According to the team, the potential deal collapsed because the player wanted too much money, Bleacher Report adds, though some believe it was because of the intense media heat generated by Jason Collins' coming out:

The first player, the one who expected to sign in June, heard in mid-to-late May from the interested team that it would no longer be signing him, officials from other teams told Bleacher Report. The player was told the reason why was fear of intense media coverage…The NFL player told a former teammate he believes the Collins story, and others about gay athletes around that time, caused the team to withdraw its offer. It was afraid of the attention. Now, six months and countless injuries to active players later, neither he nor the other player has signed with a team.

Much more at Bleacher Report


  1. Eric says

    My knee-jerk reaction is to want more LGBT sports figures. On the other hand, speaking as someone with a background in medical research, American football is pretty much a guarantee of a short career followed by financial ruin for most and brain damage for almost all- if it weren’t for the billions of dollars behind it this sport would have already been banned on humanitarian reasons alone. At least youth participation in football has already declined drastically due to all of the brain injury reports. Hard to imagine a United States without football, but I hope we get there sooner rather than later.

  2. Fox says

    Well, I haveta say, that if/when it does happen, having two (or even more!) at the same time could be the better way to go in order to at least not have all that “intense media coverage” focused on one player and one team. – jmho

  3. Francis says

    More than one player coming out would be a good thing, but the more we talk about such ans such coming out, the less likely it is to happen. There is still this “OMG” thing with being gay in general that keeps people closeted. The only way to break that is by coming out but, obviously, in the sports world, people aren’t ready. It’s unfortunate.

  4. Mike Ryan says

    @LUKE – well, he is certainly not going to announce he is bisexual, that’s for sure, because he won’t be believed.

    Get off your a**es NFL and open those arms to every gay player that wants to play. Quit being such woosies.

  5. FFS says

    So, the crux of this article is that people in positions of power within the NFL seem to believe that they’re the only commercial enterprise known to man in which intense media coverage is a bad thing? Um, okay.

    @Tyler: Due to recent blatherings to the media, I’m convinced that Rick is actually Scott Lively. Or, he bottoms for Scott Lively. One of the two.

  6. EchtKultig says

    “Hard to imagine a United States without football, but I hope we get there sooner rather than later.”
    Amen to that.

    That being said, I think a gay NFL player would (probably) be a positive role model for many young LGBT people. But this whole thing, including combine-gate a few months ago, is a bit fishy. I can’t think of a case where a huge and mega-profitable business (which is what the NFL is) made such hay over their recruiting practices. Versus merely publicizing a non-discrimination policy. I smell a rat: I wouldn’t be surprised if they hired some PR research firm a couple years ago, and all this noisemaking is about getting the middle ‘murican populace ready for…shock…an openly gay player. When in fact there’s surely at least a couple (as Ayanbadejo has already said) closeted players in the NFL. Who would obviously rather be out.

  7. ASam says

    Why should a player have to come out? Men generally don’t like to advertise their sexuality. Men aren’t advertisers by nature.

    We all know that all men are capable of homosexuality in certain circumstances. Have you ever met a man who will knock back a massage with a happy ending? I haven’t.

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    It’s a f.cking disgrace that Kerry Rhodes wasn’t signed this season. He was named (I guess based on performance) the 4th best safety in the league last year…but still, no signing.

    It’s the rumors that he’s Gay. What else could it be? League owners and their coaches are cowards.

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