Wade Davis, a former NFL player, has announced he is gay in a Tuesday article. Although Davis no longer plays, he now works with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
Wade Davis, who formerly played in preseason games for the Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks, told OutSports that he felt his first homosexual urges in high school. At that time, however, he understood those feelings were wrong.
"I think, subconsciously, I understood that being gay … the way I was raised … was wrong, and there was no way that my family, at least in my mind, would accept me," he said.
Later, when he became a professional player, he knew that "my football family would [not] accept me, just because of the perception of being gay meant that you're less masculine."
Now, after numerous injuries hindering his career as a football player, Davis has transitioned to coaching LGBTQ youth on life issues.
"For these kids, the question isn't whether they are shooting a basketball well … Sports is less significant than what I see these youth go through every day," he told OutSports.
Despite his recent coming out, Davis admitted that the move probably wouldn't be popular for other athletes looking to come out and encourage homosexuality, especially within a hyper-masculine area like the NFL.
"I'm gonna be honest with you, it probably shouldn't (be a reserve player) if he wants to keep his job," he explained. "If he's the 53rd man on the roster, if he's a free agent who's fighting for a job, maybe he shouldn't. I would hope that he would."
Davis is part of a larger trend in professional sports attempting to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, although no pro league sports figures in the United States have come out as homosexual.
On the other side of the debate are sports stars like boxer Manny Pacquiao, who recently faced stark criticism over reports that he believed in traditional marriage and the biblical guidance that homosexuality is a sin.
"God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other," Pacquiao said in response to President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage. "It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old."
Although some of Pacquiao's detractors felt that the Filipino congressman should not have defended traditional marriage, he affirmed the need for society to "put God first," and take the Bible- God's "manual of life"- for what it says.