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Wade Davis: Coaches vital in acceptance of gay players

Wade Davis came out as gay in 2012, nine years after the conclusion of an NFL career that included brief stops with the Tennessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.

With former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam now hoping to become the NFL's first openly gay player, Davis is determined to turn his own difficult personal experiences as a player into something positive.

Davis has spoken extensively with league officials in New York, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. This week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., Davis delivered presentations to league officials, describing the challenges he faced and the advantages to creating a more accepting environment for gay players.

Davis explained the message he sent to team executives during a Wednesday sitdown with NFL Media's Andrea Kremer.

"That their visibility is highly important. That the term 'diversity' has never included sexual orientations," Davis told Kremer in an interview that aired Wednesday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access." "So coaches, GMs and owners need to actually say that, 'My team is ready for a gay player and we're going to openly embrace him.'

"Saying that out loud is a weight off of a player's shoulder. And saying things like 'this word' is unacceptable in our locker room," Davis added. "You can't just use umbrella terms. You have to be very specific."

Kremer asked Davis to clarify the language he was referring to.

"So coaches have to say, 'the word faggot isn't allowed in our locker room,'" he said. "Like being very specific. The coaches want fearless players. The coaches need to be fearless, too."

Davis has said in the past he believes the NFL is ready for Sam. Davis is certainly doing his part to help ensure Sam's unique path is a welcoming one.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" offers a full recap of the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, then proposes player moves that won't happen (but probably should).

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