US: Brendon Ayanbadejo speaks to Anderson Cooper about four NFL players coming out

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Former Baltimore Ravens player and equal marriage advocate, Brendon Ayanbadejo has expanded on his announcement earlier this week that four NFL players might soon come out as gay.

In an interview earlier this week, Ayanbadejo said that he though several NFL players could come out “sooner than you think”, and that he was in talks with four players who might all come out on the same day.

Speaking to Anderson Cooper on Friday, the 36-year-old said he knew some gay players, and was aware that there were others, but that nobody wanted to reveal who the players were without their permission.

“No, actually, what it is is, is there’s organizations that I’m in contact with, and there’s individuals I’m in contact with and collectively we know of some gay players,” Ayanbadejo said.

“And these players, some of them are anonymous, some of them we know who they are, but their identity is super secret and nobody wants to reveal who they are, and some of them, they don’t want to reveal who they are, rightfully so, because it’s entirely up to them what they are going to do”, he continued.

He went on to say that the players had shown an interest in coming out all together, in order to support each other, and to not have to go through it alone. In the previous interview he spoke of a potential “backlash” against the players.

“What we want to facilitate is getting them all together so they can lean on each other, so they can have a support group,” he said.

“And potentially it’s possible, it’s fathomable, that they could possibly do something together and break a story together, and one of them had voiced that he would like to break his story with somebody else, and not do it alone, and that’s all I’m saying.”

Ayanbadejo gave another interview denying that he thougt he was cut because of his views, in which he said: “The Ravens have been backing me, they knew my stance for years and have been facilitating me and organizing me with LGBT and set me up with Equality Maryland. They helped me.”

Ayanbadejo and fellow NFL player Chris Kluwe were honoured on Thursday with an award from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), for their work advocating for the LGBT community.

Last week, Ayanbadejo appeared outside the Supreme Court to rally in favour of equal marriage. The Human Rights Campaign tweeted a quote from the athlete which read: ”‘In the end, love is always going to win the game’ -Brendon Ayanbadejo. @brendon310#UnitedForMarriage

He was last year involved in a controversy when he was criticised by a state delegate for speaking in favour of equal marriage.

Chris Kluwe, a punter for the Minnsota Vikings, made the headlines in September when he defended Ayanbadejo against a call from Delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, to reprimand Ayanbadejo, who recorded a video for a gay rights advocacy group In October 2011.

Ayanbadejo previously said he hoped that homophobic comments by fellow NFL player, Chris Culliver would open a positive dialogue about gay players in the NFL, and in November, upon waking to find that Maryland voters had chosen to legalise equal marriage in the state, Ayanbadejo said it was “like Christmas”.

The pair also wrote an amicus brief, and filed it, urging the Supreme Court to act against legislation preventing equal marriage.