More than a decade ago, football cornerback Wade Davis was struggling to make the Tennessee Titans roster while also grappling with the fact that he was gay. Once he made the team, he became the well-liked rookie, but he didn't want to ruffle any feathers by coming out.
“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. ... It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”
Davis played for the Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks as well as for teams in Barcelona and Berlin. On regular team jaunts to a Barcelona brothel, Davis would pay female sex workers to sit on a bed with him and talk, with his teammates none the wiser.
“It was probably the most mentally taxing time of my life,” Davis added. “Being there and being in the closet was tough.”
Now, as an openly gay man, he's experiences a rebirth of sorts after joining the New York Gay Football League and working with LGBT youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute to make sure they feel empowered and happy.
Watch an interview with Davis for SB Nation, which is affiliated with Outsports.com: