In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Davis — who also played in NFL Europe — said he didn’t want to be defined by his sexuality during his time in the league.
“Me being a gay person wasn’t what I wanted to be known for,” he said.
Davis, 34, retired from the league seven years ago. The former Tennessee Titan and Seattle Seahawk came out publicly to Outsports.com this week.
While his friends and family have known for years, he said he chose to speak out about his experience because of his position at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths.
“Having the opportunity to work at the Hetrick-Martin Institute gives me the opportunity to talk about lives that I’m able to effect in a real way,” he told CNN.
As the discussion over gay players in professional sports has continued, most NFL and NBA players have said they wouldn’t care if a teammate was gay. Many have participated in NOH8 campaigns (which raise awareness for marriage equality), and last month Outsports.com interviewed a dozen of big name NFL players who all said they would support a teammate if he was gay.
Many pundits believe and statistics show there is most likely a number of gay players in the NFL, even if they haven’t come out.
For Davis, it wasn’t that simple.
“I don’t believe most NFL players have a problem with having a gay teammate. I do get the feeling they have to protect who they are,” he said referring to their so-called “brand”. “At the end of the day it’s a job, so all of these players have to make sure they’re in a certain type of light.”
In an interview, Davis’ former teammate Jevon Kearse told Outsports.com he wouldn’t have had a problem.
“I know there have been a lot more than just Wade,” Kearse said. “It’s just becoming more acceptable, which is a good thing so they can come out and not feel secluded.”