Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo: 3% Of NFL Players Are Gay

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?


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  • Brian

    Look, we all know there are gay men in the NFL. But I think there’s a lot more bisexual men. In fact, if you go by Kinsey’s scale, there’s more bisexual guys than exclusively gay guys in the NFL.

    These men won’t come out for several reasons. Stigma and homophobia obviously play a role. However, there are other factors, including the fact that they’re not comfortable with the gay identity or that they don’t want their sexuality to become the central aspect of their lives. Straights tend to perceive you through the gay lens if you come out as gay – it can be a very prejudicial perception because of all the stereotypical conceptions that straights have of gay men.

    The other factor is this: many men do not think that their sex ives are anybody’s business but their own.

  • demetreus

    Why hasn’t this NFL player come out???

  • Michael

    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.

    I guess that Brendon hasn’t spent much time in Chelsea.

  • Mjl-428

    this is not surprising. the stigma and homophobia does play a role though. so the percentage of guys who would be accepting of their teammate might need to be a little higher first

  • ChiChi Man

    We all know there have to be gay football players. I think it makes sense that there would be less gays than the general population because the sports world has been so homophobic. But I think it’s a bit dangerous for Brendon to toss out numbers without corroboration — he loses credibility.

  • Samuel

    I would have thought the reverse would have been true. Given the possibility of seeing men naked, especially before our sexually liberated interent times… gay men compared to other men, would have wanted to join the NFL..

  • Charles175

    @ChiChi Man: Lose his credibility? Come on! The guy stuck his neck out for us. He is trying to analyze the statistics and this shows the depth that he wants to understand us. Even if his figures aren’t quite right, at least he is trying. A straight guy like this on our side? What more can we ask for! He’s got my up most respect.

  • avesraggiana

    There will always be more gay hairdressers, florists and interior decorators, than there will be gay football players, hockey players and rugby players.

  • Brian

    There are few exclusively gay or exclusively straight guys in general. Most men – that great sea of men – have shades of sexuality that involve periodic or phasic attraction to the same sex. It’s not talked about in the media because the media likes to polarize things for the sake of argument.

  • Malibu Eric

    About a dozen years ago I had a nice make out session with an NFL player. He was a sweet huge man from the mid-west, only saw him once as I was fully out and he said he could not take any chances. I asked him if he knew any other gay players and he said no way, it would be career death and the locker room attitude would be terrible. Maybe if Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage it will be one more step of acceptance for all of the closet guys. Here’s hoping!

  • Mjl-428

    @Malibu Eric: it’s gonna take more than just court rulings. it takes personal effort by the community in general.

  • MikeE

    @Brian: Yes, I keep reading people like you saying this.. except it just doesn’t jibe with my own experience. I have met VERY few men who deviate from the polarized status. The gay men I’ve known over the last 40 years have all been absolutely 100% pure gay with 0 attraction to women, curiosity, or interest in sleeping with one.

    So this whole “few exclusively gay guys” statement smells of fabricated origin to me.
    To me, it sounds more like a couple of bisexuals trying to swell their own ranks by intimating that everyone is a little bisexual.

  • avesraggiana


    It doesn’t jibe with mine either. I can’t imagine any guy going “gay for you” anymore than I could imagine myself going “straight for you”. The thought of licking or pounding pussy makes me recoil in horror, and it will be a cold day in Hell when I find the softness of a woman’s curves or the sweetness of her scent, as anything but absolutely revolting.

  • Samuel

    @avesraggiana: I think there will also be more gay porn stars than straight guys.

  • Samuel

    @MikeE: @avesraggiana:

    Same here. Pussy does nothing for me, except turn me off.
    if as a gay guy the opposite sex turns me off, am sure straight guys have the same feeling when it comes to a girl and so….. yes there are “pure gay guys” as well as pure straight guys and honestly i believe the majority fall into either of the two categories.

  • GayBacon

    Ummm didn’t that huge Hawaiian dude who played for the Packers come out WHILE in the NFL. Linebacker Eseralo Tuaolo or something like that. That guy made Arnold look like a dandy.

  • avesraggiana

    I think he was Samoan or maybe Tongan, I’m not sure. But I am sure he came out AFTER he retired.

  • Rockery


    Although it is kind of pointless to use our anecdotal experiences, I too don’t know any bi guys. I don’t think many out/semi out guys are bisexual. My guess is that bisexual guys probably just conform to social pressures and they stick with girls since they can be happy girls. Gay men that come out are willing to endure the hardships of society to find love/sex because that is our only choice.

    Long story short.. are the bi guys living straight? Because I doubt they are in the gays

  • Samuel

    I recently had a wierd experience of being purused/chased by a guy who has a gf. I can’t make up my mind if this guy is someone who is in denial about his homosexuality or a bisexual guy who wants to have a gf and a bf.

    I wonder what is geniune bisexuality? if they choose to live with a girl are they giving up on being gay and living the straight lie and if they choose to be with a guy are they giving up on being bisexual and living the gay life.

  • Mjl-428

    @GayBacon: Believe me. if a football player came out while IN the NFL, he’d have a lot more attention than he asked for

  • Chris-MI

    If you define “bi” as having sex with both men and women, then there have been many bi people throughout history. It covers every married person who didn’t come out but had gay lovers. Don’t know if there are stats out there, but in the early half of the 20th century there must have millions.

    I however think bi is defined how I define “gay” and “straight.” If you are attracted to the same/opposite/both sexes, you are gay/straight/bi. Personally, I don’t argue with people when they tell me they are bi. I don’t tell them they are really gay but in denial. What would that mean anyhow? You can be attracted to the opposite sex because you want to get married and have a child and please your parents and you can be attracted to the same sex because you’re in prison and isolated from women/men and you can still enjoy sex with both genders even though the dynamic is different.

    If you haven’t met any bi people, it’s probably because you aren’t looking in the right places. Like gays, they tend to cluster in certain social groups and stay closeted in most situations.

  • balehead

    it’s all about the endorsement money you know….


    Recoil in horror?… Revolting?


    Seriously, I am curious do you really feel these things and not just, say, indifference, or perhaps mild distaste; Because your rhetoric of pathological disgust, which is not untypical, borders on Misogyny. This is not meant as an attack on you I just find it hard to identify with.

    only in the last five years or so of my 37 years have i come to fully realise I have always had some low level of opposite sex attraction which has massively increased due to Internet porn. But I always just assumed most gay men could be at least be minimally excited by some aspect of a woman, at least on a rare occasion, or in that confused jumbled mass of tangled body parts that is str8 porn. but I guess I was wrong.( I don’t find pussy disgusting at all — not since I was about 11 when I did find it icky which is the psychological stage you seem to be stuck at. I used to think the idea of anal sex revolting until relatively recently where I am so used to seeing it in str8 porn that I’m just indifferent to it now.)

  • avesraggiana

    The misogynistic tone of my remarks is unfortunate and wholly un-intended. I might even concede that I over=stated my case – a little. But really, the thought of finding any woman or any part of a woman’s anatomy as sexually attractive to me is repulsive. And by your estimation, I am stuck at eleven years old. My revulsion is no more misogynistic than the revulsion straight men feel when made to gay men porn scenes. is homophobic. These lily-livered heteros have been known to actually wretch and flee the room!

    I remember in my teens, pinning up in my bedroom the same posters of Catherine Bach, Bo Derek and Brooke Shields, as my straight boy classmates. The difference was in our reactions to them. I could and still can certainly appreciate the beauty of the female form in an aesthetic sort of way – “Oh yeah, she IS gorgeous”, but my classmates’ reactions, I couldn’t comprehend at all – “Man, I wanna fuck her!”. That was about the last thing I wanted to do.

    Give me a tight, smooth, manhole to rim and fuck any day.


    @avesraggiana: Furry muff.
    Go get them cakes boy! And go back for seconds! ;)

  • Mjl-428

    @avesraggiana: which would be Brendon’s (and a few others) if my sick dreams ever became a reality

  • avesraggiana


  • ppp111

    I personally can’t blame a guy if he doesn’t want to come out. I think it’s easier today than it would have been 15 to 20 years ago but it would still be difficult. BTW, if anyone thinks that an athlete wouldn’t encounter prejudice if he came out I urge you all to read Fontana by Joshua Martino. It will make any athlete think twice before coming out.

  • Spike

    To be fair, I don’t recall the football jocks to be all that great in Math either so I would take his statement that includes a % to have an error factor of 97%.

  • Samuel

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: I am so glad to have been reading your comment last five years or so of my 37 years have i come to fully realise I have always had some low level of opposite sex attraction which has massively increased due to Internet porn”
    Usually it is gay guys in straight relationships , who talk of how interent porn made them realize their same sex attractions! Nice to know that bisexual guys can also come to greater awareness of their bisexuality through porn!

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