Every NFL team has at least one gay or bisexual player, but they refuse to come out over fears they of a backlash, according to one openly gay retired offensive lineman.
As NFL veteran Ryan O'Callaghan told Reuters, gay players stay in the closet because, they believe, coming out could cost them sponsorships or even a roster spot.
Since publicly sharing his sexual orientation in 2017, O'Callaghan said he regularly hears from closeted current NFL players.
'I can promise you there's plenty of closeted NFL players,' said O'Callaghan, who played for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006 to 2011.
'I think it's safe to say there's at least one on every team who is either gay or bisexual. A lot of guys still see it as potentially having a negative impact on their career.'
O'Callaghan said the NFL has done 'little things' in recent years to show support for the LGBT+ community, including sponsoring New York City's Pride Parade, but has not provided players with sufficient resources.
The former offensive tackle kept his sexual orientation secret from the time he was drafted by the Patriots in 2006 through his tenure with the Chiefs which ended in 2011.