Some of football’s biggest stars have shown their support for teammates who are thinking of coming out as LGBT+ in a heartwarming video released by the NFL.
The video, which is set to air Sunday during National Coming Out Day (11 October) during early-game Fox telecasts, sees retired gay or bisexual players Ryan O’Callaghan, Jeff Rohrer, RK Russell and Wade Davis offering words of support to queer players who are considering coming out.
The powerful clip then cuts to other players, such Anthony Harris, Anthony Barr, Dalton Risner, Calais Campbell, Jarvis Landry, Marlon Humphrey, Rob Gronkowski and DeAndre Hopkins lending their support to LGBT+ players who are thinking of coming out.
“Today, on National Coming Out Day, we come together with one clear message. To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we,” the video says.
The video then shows each player saying: “I got you” or “I support you.”
“It takes all of us, and you deserve to be all of you,” the players say at the end of the video.
The video is part of the NFL’s efforts to mark LGBT+ History Month, which takes place in October, and National Coming Out Day on 11 October.
LGBT+ community is a ‘critical part of the NFL family’.
The football league has also launched partnerships with GLAAD and The Trevor Project, both LGBT+ organisations, and will have an assortment of LGBT+ content airing on the NFL network throughout October.
“The LGBTQ+ community is an important audience for our sport and a critical part of the NFL family,” said Jonathan Beane, NFL chief diversity officer.
To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we.
“We continually strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.”
NFL vice president Troy Vincent also penned an op-ed to mark National Coming Out Day where he spoke about the organisation’s commitment to creating a welcoming and safe environment for players who are considering coming out as LGBT+.
The range of initiatives marks the first time the NFL has marked National Coming Out Day, according to Outsports.
A total of 14 NFL players have come out as gay or bisexual after retiring, but none have come out while still active in the sport.