NFL Players Association (NFLPA) President Marques Sullivan (Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, New England Patriots) served as the official spokesperson for Sunday’s Pride Parade. He spoke to EXTRA about his involvement in the parade:
EXTRA: Why did you want to be part of the Pride Parade in Chicago?
Marques Sullivan: It’s really because of Wade Davis. Wade Davis is a former NFL player who was very courageous in revealing his identity. We want to welcome him to Chicago and anything we could to help him as an NFL brother.
What message are you sending as the official spokesperson of the parade?
Wade Davis has been a grand marshal, a spokesperson for the NFL’s association, Chicago chapter. The message that we want to bring out is solitary- that people are treated fairly. It simply goes back to childhood – treat others the way you want to be treated. Our organization has no barriers. We want simply to be there to support and let them know they have allies in their fight.
How open is the NFL when it comes to gay players? Are they accepted?
I joined in 2007. I wasn’t aware about Martinez having different sexuality. I have many friends in the LGBT community and I support them. I can’t combat of NFL. I can speak of behalf of my organization and we support their cause and we do not promote hate or discrimination among any type of people.
What advice will you give to the future players out there who are hesitant to take a chance in football or any other sport for that matter because of their sexual orientation?
Be yourself. I think times have changed. People are a lot more tolerant and you should not be ashamed of who you are. Be courageous in the sports field and feel comfortable with yourself. We support you all and we look forward partnering with you in the future as an organization.