Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wade Davis

Last September I wrote a post suggesting that the Washington Redskins might be the gayest NFL team ever – at least four players and an assistant General Manager of the Washington Redskins football team are known to be gay. Here’s the link: 

Wade Davis, a former cornerback for the Washington Redskins, spoke out publicly this week about his experiences as a closeted gay man playing in the NFL, while doing interviews with Out Sports and SB Nation. Davis, who retired from pro football in 2004, says he never told any of his teammates that he was gay while still on an NFL payroll for fear of jeopardizing his relationships on the team. “You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family…Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family,” Davis told Out Sports. To date, no active NFL player has come out, although a recent series of interviews with some of the game’s biggest stars reveal that historically chilly attitudes towards the LGBT community may be thawing throughout the professional sports world.

On his coming out: "There was a part of me that was a little relieved because, when I knew pro football was over, my life would begin," Davis said. "I had this football life, but I didn't have another life away from that. Most of the guys had a family and a wife, but I had football and nothing else." He says he first realized he was gay in 11th grade. "I can remember being in gym class and having the desire to look at a boy in a way that I should look at girls," he said.

After Davis left the NFL, he became a personal trainer at New York Sports Club in Manhattan and served as the Director of Player Development for the New York Gay Football League. These days he's a staff member at the Hetrick-Martin Institute*, which serves LGBT youth in New York City. “It’s the first job since football that I wake up excited for work,” said Davis, who also does campaign work for President Obama. “For these kids, the question isn’t whether they are shooting a basketball well, it’s whether they have a place to sleep tonight, whether they’ve eaten today.”

*Hetrick-Martin Institute youth range in age from 13 to 21, and many of them have been forced from their homes due to conflicts over sexual orientation. Hetrick-Martin provides an alternative safe space every weekday from 3:00-6:30 pm for program activities, job-readiness training and education. In addition, more than 5,000 hot dinners were served last year. Hetrick-Martin’s skills building workshops, internship programs, and performances are all designed to improve their participants’ chances for a healthier, richer future.

Here’s the complete interview with Davis:

1 comment:

  1. inspiring... someone with a TRUE commitment to the welfare of other human beings.