Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

It's perfect that the first NFL players to come out of the closet—indeed, the first active players in any North American sport—will do so after a protracted negotiation that resembles collective contract bargaining, except with less salary caps and signing bonuses and more public declarations of sexual preference.

Brendon Ayanbadejo, whose clarificatory comments about his recent release from the Ravens were covered here yesterday, said in the same interview that "we"—Ayanbadejo and some unnamed associates—are "in talks" with multiple players he knows to be gay, and Ayanbadejo is hopeful that he can usher them out of the closet all at once and in fairly short order. Those players are on board, according to Ayanbadejo, and they are "trying to be organized" so they can come out on the same day.


Ayabadejo told the Sun:

"I think it will happen sooner than you think," Ayanbadejo said. "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.

Can you imagine? This will dwarf the Decision as a media event, and may even surpass the Announcement, which ultimately contributed to an important shift in attitudes about something that was once taboo. Football writers haven't been above reporting on and musing about players' personal lives in the past, but when sexual orientation becomes a journalistic scoop for our alternately stodgy and Five Hour Ener-bro NFL press corps, we'll know gays in sports are on the path to acceptance, because there's no faster way to make a story boring.

At first, though, it will be surreal to watch the old guard adapt to its new reporting duties: Jason La Canfora, Adam Schefter and Albert Breer tweeting each player's identity within seconds of one another, and then Sports Center going with, "As reported by Adam Schefter, the following football players are gay...", John Clayton doing a phone hit about the strategic benefits of coming out as a group, Ed Werder reporting Jerry Jones's reaction live from Cowboys camp, Sal Paolantonio split-screening from an empty field in Philadelphia, ProFootballTalk breaking it down as ham-fistedly as possible, a million Yahoo! comment sections instantly self-immolating. It's going to be awesome.


[Baltimore Sun]

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