When Ryan O’Callaghan decided to come out as gay, for him it was considered the end of the world. He thought he would lose everything. His family, his friends, his career, it all came to an end so his plan in 2011 was to kill himself after finishing his NFL career.
Studies have shown that a lot of people in the LGBT+ community, especially young people, have such thoughts. We don’t know everything Carl Nassib went through mentally on his journey, but wanting to help people like O’Callaghan is why he decided to overcome his fears. and became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. And even though he’s been out with family and close friends for a long time, getting that Instagram video out hasn’t been easy for him.
“I was staring at my phone for an hour trying to boost myself,” Nassib told Michael Strahan on Good Morning America. “The last thing I said was ‘You know what? For the kids, ‘and I hit post. “
Cyd Zeigler is a writer at Outsports and wrote O’Callaghan’s autobiography with him, titled My Life on the Line: How Damn the NFL Almost Killed Me and Ended Up Saving My Life. He knew that because of the success and cultural importance of the NFL in this country, an openly gay player in that league could help a lot of young people.
“It has a profound impact because one is the visibility of the NFL, and the other is that the NFL is the most powerful cultural organization in America,” Zeigler told Deadspin. “There is no studio, no television network that promotes culture the way football and the NFL do. Let a gay man show up and let the kids see him keep playing. His teammates say they still love him.
“He will get another job. It continues to give the kids the confidence that I have as a gay adult man who has seen acceptance over the years, giving them the confidence to be who they are and what they are. also experience that acceptance. “
Zeigler debuted in 1996. Before that, he thought it was possible that he was gay, but he wasn’t entirely sure. However, he was teased about being gay for most of his life as a kid even though he didn’t have those thoughts until somewhere around his teenage years. me. He noted that those jokes stopped when he started “running around” [his classmates]“When he was in high school. Talking to Zeigler clearly showed that he had no shortage of confidence, so when he met the first man he was ever attracted to, it took him about 4 months to open up to everyone he knew.
The way he tries to encourage young gay people by letting them know that they are more likely to get support than they realize. Outsports is in partnership with the University of Winchester and the Sports Equality Foundation. A ton of data is collected through survey of athletes who were gay in high school and college. Overall, only 5% of those surveyed responded that they had a negative experience while almost 82% had a positive experience.
In narrowing down to what they consider to be the “Big Five” sports – soccer, men’s basketball, baseball, soccer and ice hockey, “the numbers have certainly changed, as they have too. did when narrowing down to high school instead of college – but not significantly. In the “Big Five,” 71.7 percent had a positive experience compared with 7.6 percent bad or worse. Overall, the high school data showed that 71.3% of athletes had a good experience and 7.4% had a bad experience. Only three out of 1,000 athletes surveyed described their experience as “the worst-case scenario”.
Certainly, one who sees this should hope that no one has ever experienced the worst possible scenario, and the odds of athletes having a bad experience are still a bit high, especially when the research is done. divided into several parts. But the data shows that the majority of athletes who go out with their teammates have not had a bad or obnoxious experience. Many people received the positive response that Nassib received, and O’Callaghan’s reaction when he came to work for GM Scott Pioli – Kansas City Chief in 2011.
“Scott’s reaction was like, ‘you told me you have a problem to discuss,’” Zeigler said. “’I think there’s really a problem. You being gay is not a problem. ‘”
It’s gone a long way toward helping O’Callaghan live an open life and enjoy it. Surely some young football player, baseball player or track athlete has seen Lamar Jackson wearing a Nassib sack Monday Night Football and it makes the person feel a little better.
There is still a long way to go for society to get to where Nassib told Strahan. Date on which these notices will not be needed. Until that day comes, this is not the time to slow down, it’s time for society to work harder for the good, so if that study were done again in 10 years, the numbers would even be higher. better.
A great step in that direction will be the Las Vegas Raiders of 2021′ fifth best defender – according to Professional Football Spotlight – on the list through Week 1.