Hours after Brendon Ayanbadejo told the Baltimore Sun, "There are up to four players being talked to right now and they're trying to be organized so they can come out (as gay) on the same day together," the recently released Ravens linebacker found himself backtracking on the details.
Speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Friday evening, Ayanbadejo clarified his earlier remarks.
|Brendon Ayanbadejo in the news|
"No, actually, what it is is, is there are organizations I'm in contact with, and there are individuals I'm in contact with and collectively we know of some gay players. 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 don't want to reveal who they are, rightfully so because it's entirely up to them what they are going to do," Ayanbadejo said, via Outsports.
"What we want to facilitate is getting them all together so they can lean on each other, so they can have a support group. And potentially it's possible, it's fathomable, that they could possibly do something together, break a story together."
This comes days after Ayanbadejo told Newsday his prominent involvement in gay-rights issues was one of the reasons the Ravens released him. A short time later, he said he was misquoted; the real reason he was cut, Ayanbadejo explained, was because of his age, not his social causes.
So why would Ayanbadejo claim that four NFL players were poised to come out together when he later admitted to not knowing who these players might be?
Cyd Zeigler of Outsports, a website about "sports and gay athletes and fans," offered this explanation of Ayanbadejo's explanation:
Let me translate (Ayanbadejo's comments to the Sun): "I totally made a big mistake. I should have never said I know four NFL players talking about coming out. I don't. They're not. And I certainly should have never said it was going to happen very soon. I don't believe it's going to happen this year. I let my hope get the best of me, and I look forward to helping all gay athletes however I can."
Ayanbadejo has championed gay-rights issues for some time, but his inability to get his story straight only hurts his cause, and possibly those with the most to lose: gay players still in the closet. That said, Zeigler writes there could be some good to come from this.
"The idea is now out there about multiple athletes coming out at once. It's a good idea, but the task is daunting. It's hard enough -- and until now it's been fruitless -- to find a single NFL player to come out publicly, let alone four. Still, if this idea makes several athletes more likely to live their truth publicly, that could be a good thing."