(CBS/CNN) — It’s a first for the NFL.
The football league is celebrating National Coming Out Day with a video featuring openly gay and bisexual former players such as Ryan O’Callaghan, Jeff Rohrer, R.K. Russell and Wade Davis, encouraging current LGBTQ players to come out.READ MORE: Montrezl Harrell Helps Wizards Beat Celtics 116-107
The NFL released the 30-second long “National Coming Out Day PSA” on YouTube Saturday. It’s scheduled to air during early-game Fox broadcasts Sunday, which is National Coming Out Day, according to Outsports.com.
As of Sunday afternoon, the video has roughly 22,000 views.
O’Callaghan, a former Patriots offensive lineman, spent his entire career hiding his sexuality from teammates. He shared that battle in his new book, “My Life On The Line,” which was released last year.
“I try to make sure I tell people how good it feels when you can finally be yourself, and that weight that’s off your shoulders,” O’Callaghan told WBZ-TV last year.
The PSA begins with O’Callaghan, Rohrer, Russell and Davis collectively saying: “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we.”
Then current NFL players, including Rob Gronkowski, DeAndre Hopkins, and Calais Campbell, express their support, saying, “It takes all of us, and you deserve to be all you.”
Fourteen former NFL players have said they are gay or bisexual, according to Outsports.com.READ MORE: Nearly Half A Million Lose Power As Nor'easter Hits Massachusetts
NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent wrote an op-ed on the league’s website as part of its “It Takes All of Us” campaign, expressing his support for LGBTQ players considering coming out.
“There has never been a single active player that has come out,” Vincent writes, reflecting on his own experience as an NFL player. “While I’m sure I’ve played with LGBTQ+ players — highly skilled, athletic and effective at their jobs — they did not come out. But they were my teammates and part of the larger NFL family.”
“Anyone in the player community who may be considering coming out, know this,” Vincent writes. “Just as I have done with family members and close friends, I am committed to serving as a conduit to help you through that journey — either myself, in collaboration with my teammates at the league office, or through the many organizations with whom we partner on LGBTQ+ issues.”
The NFL launched a website featuring additional projects with GLAAD, the Trevor Project and other LGBTQ+ content scheduled for the remainder of October, which is also LGBTQ+ History Month.
The league also plans to have NFL Network talent wear purple for Spirit Day, October 15.
“We have no way of knowing if an active NFL player would choose to come out, or what they might experience,” Vincent writes at the end of his op-ed. “What I do know is that I am committed to celebrate, support, and welcome them.”MORE NEWS: School Closings For October 28, 2021
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