On the heels of talks that a gay NFL player will soon make himself known to the public, many league players have come forth in support.
One of those players happens to be wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who has recently joined Athlete Ally, a group dedicated to fighting homophobia in sports.
Just recently, Stallworth was involved in a hot air balloon accident that nearly killed him. He says it was that ordeal that made him want to finally do something about homophobia in football.
“That made me more willing to [get involved] now as opposed to sticking my toe in and seeing what happens,” Stallworth told The Huffington Post in an interview Wednesday. “After that situation where I literally almost lost my life, I came to the understanding and the realization that life is really short, and while you’re here, you need to love and respect the people who love and respect you.”
He also credits former Ravens player, Brendon Ayanbadejo, for inspiring him to sign on to the anti-homophobia fight.
“I think it’s important for us as professional athletes not only to set the tone in our own respective fields, but also for the kids who are watching our programs or our sports,” he said. “If you isolate a child and teach them hate, hate, hate, that’s the way they’re going to grow up. … And unfortunately, that’s the environment that I grew up in. There was a lot of disrespect for gays. I unfortunately was a part of that. But as I got older, I became more ashamed of that and more open to rights for all.”
We hear you! Kudos to all the football players who are making sure that when their fellow NFL player does finally comes out, he’ll be embraced by a safe, non-homophobic environment.