The Rush: Billie Jean King wants NFL quarterbacks to lead on supporting gay players

Tennis legend and activist icon Billie Jean King stops by The Rush, revealing which of today’s tennis stars she loves to watch, her thoughts on modern athlete activist, how Las Vegas Radiers DE Carl Nassib coming out as gay will impact the NFL and what she’s binge-watching… spoiler alert, it’s a sports show! Plus, Billie Jean’s new autobiography “All In” is available now.

Video Transcript

BILLIE JEAN KING: I don't think of myself as an icon. But the best thing about my life is that the relationships that I've been able to make in my life, the friendships, the connections, the opportunities I've been given because I've been an athlete and because people believed in me.

JARED QUAY: That's sports icon Billie Jean King serving up some humble pie, talking about her extraordinary life. In her new autobiography "All In," Billie Jean covers everything from her 39 single titles on the tennis court to her groundbreaking work as an activist. We caught up with the legend to get her thoughts on everything from social issues to what she's binge watching. Let's take a look.

BILLIE JEAN KING: I actually like most of the players, and especially if I get to know them as a human being. If I like them as a person, then I'm like, come on! Like you gotta win. I love Naomi, and I love Serena and Venus. Coco Gauff is also speaking out. She's our young one coming up.


I love the fact that they're using Bianca Andreescu. She's another great one. She speaks out. She's got leadership potential as well.

This is a dream I always had for every generation that we will use, they will use this platform that we've been given that it's a privilege. And to make sure you treat it like a privilege, because it is. Very few people have this opportunity to be heard like the kids in sports today. I mean, you look at Naomi Osaka, you look at Phelps, you look at Simone Biles, you look at all these different people who are speaking out. But people are actually listening to them.

CARL NASSIB: What's up people? I'm Carl Nassib. Just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay.

BILLIE JEAN KING: All of us in the LGBTQ plus community have been praying that male football players would come out. But what we really need is the quarterbacks to come out and support them. Because a quarterback, I think, this is just my opinion, that they're the leader of that team, especially on the field. They need to come out and back up every single player on that team, particularly someone who's come out. He needs them to be for him.

I know the Players Association said all the right things. I know the NFL said the right things. But how is his daily life? How are the guys really treating him? And I know some linemen came out on his behalf, which was really great.

But we need people to feel comfortable in their sexuality and not feel threatened and to feel accepted. Everyone wants to be accepted and loved. And so this is really important. But we need more male athletes to come out, but we need straight male athletes to support them.

"Ted Lasso!" We-- we just finished that second-- I'm like-- and they're only doing it once a week. They're killing me.

- Whatever you say [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah. Just let me know if I'm winning or losing, all right?

BILLIE JEAN KING: I just love him as a coach. You know, I've coached as well. And I go, god, if I can coach like him all the time. He is adorable. Oh, I love-- oh, love that show.