(Getty)Wade Davis played for three different NFL teams, and retired in 2003. In June of 2012, he came out, joining a small group of professional athletes who are publicly gay. This weekend, Davis attended Nike's LGBT Sports Summit, and talked to Shutdown Corner about the past year, Jason Collins, and helping youth.
Shutdown Corner: In the past year, NBA player Jason Collins and WNBA star Brittney Griner both came out. Other athletes have, too. Do you feel a change in climate in that one year?
Wade Davis: It feels different because there are so many conversations around LGBTQ athletes in sports. There's so many great organizations and people who are really making it their priority to make sure young people have spaces in sports that are accessible to people of all genders and sexualities. Also, there are so many athletes of all races and sexualities that are speaking out to add their voices to make sure that even pro athletes feel safe in sports.
SC: What was behind your decision to come out?
WD: There were two things. One, I was ready. I was in a point in my life where I knew enough about myself. I loved myself. There was so much self-hatred I lived with that I had to unlearn. Two, I was working with LGBTQ youth, and they really inspired me everyday. Just living in their truth and exhibiting so much courage that I was like, ya know, if these people can do this under insurmountable odds, an ex-NFL player who is draped privilege? I can also do it. I can also use the platform that was given to me to really share their stories.
SC: Now that it's been a year, how do you look back and judge the reaction?
Read More »from The Shutdown Corner Interview: Wade Davis, a year after coming out
WD: I would say 99 percent of the feedback was amazing. From ex-teammates, to college teammates, to high school teammates, they were all truly amazing. What I found kinda funny was that they were all a little bit mad at me. They said, 'Why didn't you tell me before? I would have loved you regardless, and I would have loved the opportunity to prove that to you. That I'd view you no different.'