Rolling Out

Former NFL star Brendon Ayanbadejo speaks on closeted football players

Photo Credit: Brendon Ayanbadejo's Instagram (@brendon310)
Photo Credit: Brendon Ayanbadejo’s Instagram (@brendon310)

North Carolina has been getting a lot of national criticism lately over its recent passing of an anti-LGBT bill that voids all of the state’s nondiscrimination ordinances. Since then, several celebs and businesses have spoken out against the state and are even boycotting it. And now former NFL star Brendon Ayanbadejo is weighing in on the matter, as well as his experiences with gay men in the NFL.

According to media reports, anti-LGBT House Bill 2 was passed late last month and blocked the entire state from enacting nondiscrimination ordinances designed to protect LGBT people. This also includes a recent bill passed in Charlotte that would have allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that match their personal gender identity.

According to media reports, Ayanbadejo recently spoke about the passing of the bill and explained that he was ashamed and disappointed that it was passed.

“I think it’s a big step backwards for our country,” said Ayanbadejo. “We’ve done so much work to always go forward and then [we] always go backwards. In certain states, they just don’t want to treat people equally.”

Ayanbadejo was asked if he thinks sports teams in NC should boycott the bill, but he explained that he wouldn’t hold his breath on it actually happening.

“I think they should. But will they do it? They probably won’t,” he said.

Ayanbadejo also explained that in the world of sports, athletes and officials tend to have a “Michael Jordan mentality” about hot button political issues because they’re more concerned with making money off of consumers than making a political statement, whether it’s beneficial to society or not.

However, Ayanbadejo praised the smaller number of pro-athletes who are brave enough to speak out on civil rights issues.

He said, “But I like when an athlete or an artist takes it into their own hands, and release comments and say things that directly oppose bigotry and treating people unfairly.”

When asked if the world will ever see a gay football player reach higher heights of superstardom than openly gay former NFL star Michael Sam, Ayanbadejo claimed that the NFL is already full of gay superstars; they’re just not out like Sam is.

“Yes, we will! I mean they’re already here, we just don’t know who they are. They’re already among us,” said Ayanbadejo.

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