After coming out last year, former NFL defensive back Wade Davis explains his fears of being gay in the NFL and why he kept it a secret most of his life and through his playing years.
Davis was an undrafted free agent from 2000 to 2004 having stints with the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, but never could make it into a game on a 53-man roster.
The 34-year-old Davis however, is now telling his story about when trying to make the teams and attended training camps, he had to hide the fact he was gay from not only his own family but teammates, he had become friends with such as Jevon Kearse, Samari Rolle and Eddie George, out of fear he would not be accepted.
“I think subconsciously, I understood that being gay — the way I was raised — was wrong,” Davis told Amy K. Nelson of SB Nation in a Tuesday interview. “And there was no way that my family, at least, in my mind, would accept me. And also that my football family would accept me. Just because of the perception of being gay meant that you were less masculine.”
After explaining that the NFL has never had an active, openly gay player, he said in 2000, he quickly learned that he needed to stay quiet about his sexuality after he saw another player who was “perceived to be different” get warned that he should not do anything that would result in him not making the roster. Davis said after that he kept the secret hidden and even went and spent thousands of dollars at strip clubs while out with other players.
“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis told OutSports.com. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon and Samari. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”