February 2, 2024

How Many Pro Football Players Are Gay?

The NFL has been around for 103 years, and only a handful of players have come out as gay over that time. Those who have made the choice to live their truth are considered pioneers in a sport that has often been ostracizing for gay people. Carl Nassib has joined the list of NFL players who have opened up about their sexuality, but there are many more who haven't made that leap.

According to former NFL offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan, there is likely a closeted player on every team's roster. Those players have been scared to live their truth, but they can take heart that there are others who are ready to open up.

David Kopay is considered the first pro team sport athlete to come out, and he did so in a 1975 interview. He went on to publish a best-selling autobiography and become an LGBT activist, but he was still ostracized from the world of football for decades after his career.

Other former LGBT NFL stars include Ray McDonald, who played running back for the Washington football team from 1967 to 1968, and Roy Simmons, who was an offensive lineman with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins from 1979 through 1983. Other players who came out after their careers were over include Jeff Rohrer, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, and Kwame Harris, who played offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.

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