Mike Florio, the NBC football analyst who first floated word that NFL general managers wanted to know if Mant Te'o was gay, responded to Freeman's scoop by suggesting that "the player may not currently have a team, or that the player believes he may not make it onto the final 53-man roster of the team for which he currently plays."
That's a little ridiculous — Ayanbadejo has been an important and outspoken voice despite apparently not being good enough for the Super Bowl champs. But four players could mean a strong message, and maybe a prominent player as a face for what could be an important moment for a league that's set a troubling example for gay rights of late. Still, four players is a small fraction of all NFL athletes — 32 teams, with 53 players on each makes for about four out of 1,696, or 0.2 percent — and nobody's going to "guess" the fearless foursome before the potential coming out party before the new season begins in September. (Four, coincidentally, is the same number of remaining Democratic Senators who still haven't come out for gay marriage).
"Of course, there would be backlash," Ayanbadejo continues, stating the possible downside of this would-be landmark event. "If they could share the backlash, it would be more positive. It's cool. It's exciting. .. The NFL and organizations are already being proactive and open if a player does it and if something negative happens. We'll see what happens."
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