T: When you get to that Jackie Robinson, that extraordinary player who’s gay but he’s so good you can’t front, do you think about the impact that that would have on America when that moment comes?
W: I think about that moment a lot and that moment really scares me. I think we exist in a society that’s looking for a specific type of player who’s gay. Would we need a face of gay athletics who’s got gold fronts and dreds? You think that the media and Nike would do all this and that for them? Imagine if this person is someone who didn’t go to Stanford, who’s maybe not as articulate as we like. Who’s like Two Chains. Is he going to be the face of this LGBT sports movement? No. There’s not a chance in Hell. And what if this athlete says I’m gay but I want to do my work silently. I’m gay, I’ve owned it, I’ve given everyone that. Now I just want to play ball. Is the media going to be ok with that? Are my fellow LGBT sports pundits going to be ok with that?
T: So you’re worried about who it is.
W: I’m worried about who it is and the idea that they have to do all these things the way that we want them to do it. That we’ve removed all the agency that they have. That’s what I’m worried about. What if he says I don’t want to be on the cover of Out? I don’t want to be sexualized. Everyone doesn’t exist in that sphere and if he doesn’t follow that pre-existing roadmap then he’s not going not be good enough to be that person. If I’d have come out while I was playing I would’ve said the most screwed up stuff in the world about gay youth. Because I didn’t know. I didn’t have the language to talk about it. I wasn’t reading books, I was reading playbooks. I promise if, I’d have been out I would’ve said to guys, ‘The fa**ot just dominated you.” Guaranteed. 100%. I know that word is horrific and gets kids bullied and killed but I guarantee if I was out I would’ve said that to people.
T: The responsibility of representing for all gay people would’ve been beyond you.
W: We want this person to come out and save the world when he’s probably not even ready to save himself. Because I needed to save Wade first. I was scared to say to myself Wade Davis you’re gay. Saying that in the mirror was heavy. The stigma associated with being gay was too heavy to bear.
T: But what we have now is guys who are hiding.
W: Do you think no one in the NFL, NBA or MLB knows these guys are gay? There’s probably at least one guy on a team that everyone knows is gay and no one’s saying anything. I guarantee that exists. Because guys grow up just wanting to be athletes. They didn’t want to be the gay athlete. You have guys saying I knew I was gay when I was three. You probably knew you wanted to be an athlete before that. So guys just want to exist, to be a ballplayer.
T: Is it different in the NBA?
W: There’s a perception that the percentage of gay guys in the NBA is higher than in the NFL.
T: Is the burden solely on the gay players to start coming out or is it also on the straight players to make it acceptable?
W: Yes, straight guys must start affirming the fact that they’re ok with playing with gay teammates. Because there are more straight players. If all of them create this voice, if Peyton Manning and all these other guys come out and say something people will say maybe I need to listen or revisit my way of thinking now because these guys are ok with it. But I never felt the players in the NFL didn’t allow me to be gay. I was not suppressed. I want people to know that. It was a decision I made because of how I felt about myself.
This is a lot to digest but what do you think about Davis’ comments that there are starters in pro sports living semi-open lives already. Is it shocking or only natural in 2013???