Wade Davis, a cornerback who spent four preseasons with three NFL teams and also played in NFL Europe, said he didn’t tell his teammates he was gay because he feared the impact it would have in the locker room. The former NFLer wasn’t ready to come out during his career that ended in 2003.
The former Tennessee Titan, Washington Redskin and Seattle Seahawk came out publicly to Outsports.com this week. While his friends and family have known for years, he said he chose to speak out about his experience because of his position at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths.
“Having the opportunity to work at the Hetrick-Martin Institute gives me the opportunity to talk about lives that I’m able to effect in a real way,” he told Outsports.com
“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis said in an interview with Outsports.com. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family.”
Wade played in college at Weber State and spent the 2000 and 2002 preseasons with the Titans. Jevon Kearse and Samari Rolle were among his closest friends in Tennessee, and he would later be invited to Rolle’s wedding.
Throughout his career, he struggled with the fact that he was a gay man in a profession where homosexuality was almost never discussed openly. Wade said he would wear his clothes extra large, use patterns of speech that, to him, sounded like he spoke like many of his peers. He said that he became the best actor in the world.
Davis football career ended in 2003, after he got hurt in training camp. He said still struggles with identity, both as a black man and as a gay man but has taken to help campaign for President Obama, hoping to help the movement.
While there has yet to be an openly gay player in any of the four major American professional leagues, several players have come out after retiring, including former NBA forward John Amaechi, NFL lineman Esera Tuaolo and major leaguer Billy Bean. Rick Welts, president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, is openly gay.
Davis’ football career ended in 2003, after he got hurt in training camp.