Many of you have already sent me this link or related ones, but if you haven’t seen it: Wade Davis, former professional football player (he was a cornerback, like Dev used to be! but he seems more of a coyote build), has been sort of gradually coming out over a period of years, and finally has gone full public with it. This came on the heels of an Outsports.com article in which pretty much every NFL player they talked to said a gay teammate wouldn’t be a problem. Course, when you’re talking to OUTSPORTS DOT COM, what are you going to say?
Davis is both more realistic and more idealistic. For someone fighting for a job, he says, it’d be difficult–but he still thinks they should come out.
For my money, speaking as someone without the firsthand experience of being a pro player, much less a gay one, I think Davis is right. I really do think that the scenario I’ve written about in Out of Position/Isolation Play/book 3/book 4 is becoming more and more likely; if anything, the scrutiny and shame Dev faces are becoming more unrealistic every day. Will there be guys who don’t approve on your team? Sure. Is it going to be okay for them to behave differently to you? Nah. At the end of the day, like one of the players said, you’re going to war with your teammates on the field, and all you want to know is whether that teammate’s got your back when you’re playing. When you hang up the uniform, you’re friends with some guys and not with others, and it’s live and let live.
We have a sort of ongoing debate about which pro league will have the first gay player. I think the odds just shifted a little toward the NFL. And I think the first gay player to come out will be a football player precisely because it is the most high-profile of the four big sports here, and because the player will have a canny agent who says, “look, you might have to switch teams, but you are going to be on every talk show and a dozen commercials if you want, and if your current team doesn’t want you, you can bet your ass that some other team will pick you up (probably Dallas, given how Jerry Jones hates having the media spotlight on other people).”
I mean, at this point, if someone comes out as gay and then is cut, can you imagine the outcry? Even if the guy was on the edge performance-wise, the team’s going to keep him because at this point in our history, nobody wants to be the team that cut the first gay player.
It’s going to happen, and pretty soon. I never thought I would see an out pro athlete in one of the big four sports before I finished writing Dev and Lee’s story, but now I think I would place money on it. You know, if Vegas were aware of my books at all.