Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former linebacker and 13-year veteran of the NFL who won the Super Bowl in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens, is reminding us once again about the number of gay men currently in the NFL who choose not to come out publicly.
TMZ caught up with Ayanbadejo as he grabbed coffee in Los Angeles yesterday and asked for his thoughts about the new anti-trans ’bathroom bill’ passed in North Carolina, and whether he thinks the NFL should publicly condemn it.
Asked if he thinks sports teams should boycott the Tar Heel state until the new law is repealed, he said, “I think they should. But will they do it? They probably won’t.”
Ayanbadejo said the NFL and sports teams in general have a “Michael Jordan mentality” when it comes to taking official stances on political topics. “The opposing party, they buy sneakers too,” he said, implying that sports teams don’t align themselves politically out of fear of ostracizing fans.
He added: “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.”
Asked if we’ll ever see “a gay superstar in the NFL” in our lifetime, Ayanbadejo perked up and said, “Yes, we will! I mean they’re already here, we just don’t know who they are. They’re already among us.”
In 2013, Ayanbadejo incited excitement when he told the Baltimore Sun that the NFL was planning a mass coming out for four major players, who were allegedly going to come out at a press conference announcing a new NFL initiative designed to combat homophobia in sports.
That press conference and ’mass coming out’ never happened, some claim, when the four players in question backed out after seeing the overwhelming reactions to Ayanbadejo’s statements.