Now, in an interview with Fox Sports, the linebacker says there are definitely gay men in the NFL, but they’re fewer and farther between than in the general population because of self-selection and, perhaps, genetics:
Now, if there’s a negative thing about NFL players, we tend to be angrier (than non-players). We clearly have higher testosterone because you have to genetically to play this game. With that comes bipolar (disorder), split personality and certain negative things.
That’s not everybody, but I think the rate is higher than the general population.
I believe that there are not as many gay people in the NFL as in the regular population… Even though there is not yet a proven gay gene, I believe people are born gay. It is a natural phenomenon.
Ayanbadejo admits his theory is controversial and he has no empirical proof, just years of experience on the field. He also says, if they thought about it, these closeted players would be smart to come out:
Some people say the gay guys in the NFL aren’t coming out because they’re scared and worried about what’s going to happen to their careers. But I think the first person who comes out and says they are gay, everyone is going to write a book and do stories about them. They’re going to make a lot more money by saying they’re gay than by not saying they’re gay. But are we ready to hear that? Is that person going to be comfortable to do that? I don’t think they are right now because of society and the way things are.
“Eventually, I think there will be someone. But the number [of gay players] is so minute. If they say the regular population is 7 to 9 percent [gay], in the NFL it might be 3 percent. I could be completely wrong, but I’ve played for so long and so many others have. When you hear players coming out that are retired, they are few and far between. Why wouldn’t we hear about more players if it’s the same percentage like in the regular population?
OutSports’ Jim Buzinski did the math and, if Ayanbadejo’s numbers are correct, that works out to 51 gay men currently playing professional football. More than enough to field our own team, right?