In honor of National Coming Out Day, the National Football League (NFL) released a video celebrating former LGBTQ+ players and encouraging those still in the closet to come out.
The heartwarming clip features former out gay and bisexual athletes Wade Davis, R.K. Russell, Jeff Rohrer, and Ryan O’Callaghan encouraging current athletes to live freely and speak their truth. They collectively announce: “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we.”
The clip also includes notable current NFL players such as Rob Gronkowski, DeAndre Hopkins, and Calais Campbell coming together in a display of allyship, declaring, “It takes all of us, and you deserve to be all you.”
— NFL (@NFL) October 11, 2020
Former Patriots offensive lineman O’Callaghan told WBZ-TV last year, “I try to make sure I tell people how good it feels when you can finally be yourself, and that weight that’s off your shoulders.” He hid his sexuality from his teammates throughout his entire career.
Executive Vice President Troy Vincent declared in an op-ed published to the NFL website that the time for an openly out active player is now, and reflected on his own time as a former NFL athlete.
Vincent expressed his regret that “while I’m sure I’ve played with LGBTQ+ players — highly skilled, athletic and effective at their jobs — they did not come out” and affirmed “they were my teammates and part of the larger NFL family.”
The NFL released the PSA to YouTube on Saturday and it has since garnered almost 50,000 views. It also aired Sunday across early game broadcasts on Fox under the NFL’s “It Takes All Of Us” campaign.
In addition, the NFL has also launched a website featuring projects in partnership with GLAAD, the Trevor Project, and more LGBTQ+ oriented content planned for the rest of October, which is LGBTQ+ History Month.
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