Wade Davis (American football)
|No. 23, 25, 42, 36|
|Date of birth:||July 28, 1977|
|Place of birth:||Little Rock, Arkansas|
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school:||Aurora (CO) Overland|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Davis grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and Aurora, Colorado. He played college football at Mesa State and Weber State. In 2000, Davis signed with the Tennessee Titans of the NFL as an undrafted free agent but was cut after the preseason. Davis made his professional debut in 2001 with the NFL Europe team Berlin Thunder and won the World Bowl IX title with the Thunder. After spending the 2001 preseason with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, Davis again played the 2002 regular season in the NFL Europe with the Barcelona Dragons. Davis then participated in training camps and preseasons with the Tennessee Titans in 2002 and Washington Redskins in 2003 before retiring due to injury.
Davis is the former Executive Director and current Director of Professional Sports Outreach for the You Can Play Project, an advocacy organization working to eradicate homophobia in professional sports. Wade develops curriculum, programming, training and conversations focused on inclusion and diversity. He formerly worked at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City, New York, as the Assistant Director of Job Readiness, where he helped at-promise LGBT youth learn life skills.
Early life and college years
Davis was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and spent most of his childhood in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was raised in a Southern Baptist family and went to church four to five times a week. Davis was the only boy and the youngest child in his family. Davis suffered from a speech impediment and did not like to talk, which added to his feelings of loneliness. At seven years of age, Davis discovered football.
Davis played college football first at Mesa State College, a small college in Grand Junction, Colorado, in 1996. He transferred to Weber State University of Ogden, Utah in 1997 and played three seasons on the Weber State Wildcats football team. As a sophomore in 1997, Davis blocked two kicks. In 1999, his senior year, Davis made 11 tackles in one game for Weber State and was an honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference selection. With Weber State, Davis made 142 tackles (3 for loss), one fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles, 20 passes defended, and 2 interceptions.
At the NFL Scouting Combine of 2000, Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. The Tennessee Titans signed Davis as an undrafted free agent on April 18, 2000 after the 2000 NFL Draft. Davis was cut after training camp.
In 2001, the Titans allocated Davis to the NFL Europe team Berlin Thunder. Starting all 10 games as left cornerback, Davis wore jersey number 23 and led Berlin with 57 tackles in the season and won World Bowl IX with the team. Davis also made 0.5 sack, 1 interception, and 5 passes defended. After the NFL Europe season, Davis spent the 2001 preseason in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.
Davis was selected in the first round of the 2002 NFL Europe allocation draft by the Barcelona Dragons. In 2002 with Barcelona, Davis wore jersey number 25 and made 41 tackles, 6 passes defended, and 5 special teams tackles.
Wearing jersey number 42, Davis returned to the Tennessee Titans in 2002 for training camp and preseason but was cut before the regular season. In 2003, he participated in training camp with the Washington Redskins and wore jersey #36 but retired from football due to a leg injury.
Activism, teaching, public speaking and campaigns
His activism, work and story has been featured in The Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera America, NPR, WBUR, USA Today, Ebony Magazine, People Magazine, BET, Outsports, and Bleacher Report.
In 2014, Davis joined NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business as adjunct faculty.
Davis joined the Advisory Board for You Can Play, an organization dedicated to fighting homophobia in professional sports. On August 20, 2013, he was named executive director of the organization.
Davis co-founded, with Darnell L. Moore, the YOU Belong Initiative, an organization offering LGBTQ and straight allied youth a three-day, comprehensive sports instruction and leadership development clinic. As part of YOU Belong, Davis also began the Speaker's Collective, aimed at providing support, promotion and sense of community for LGBTQ professionals of color.
In 2014, Davis became the NFL’s first Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, where he works with the NFL and their corporate sponsors to break down the barriers that exist between the NFL and the LGBT community by leading inclusion training sessions and national engagement initiatives. 
Davis guest-starred on season 2 of the critically acclaimed drama American Crime (TV Series) in 2016.
Davis's contributions are included in the book, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home by Keith Boykin. His memoir, Interference, was scheduled to be released in Winter 2015. The memoir will chronicle his struggles growing up in a strict religious household and working and advocating for LGBTQ rights.
Affiliations and memberships
Awards and honors
- Davis received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Northeastern University for his leadership and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia and sexism in athletics, 2014.
- Named one of the 50 Black LGBT Adults That Black LGBT Youth Should Know. 2012, National Youth Pride Services.
- Wade Davis, named #46 on The Root 100, Black influencers and achievers, in ranked order.
- Audre Lorde Founder's Award, Hispanic and Black Gay Coalition, 2012.
- Homosexuality in American football
- List of LGBT writers
- List of people from Louisiana
- List of people from New York City
- List of Seattle Seahawks players
- List of Washington Redskins players
- List of Weber State University people
- "Wade Davis biography". Tennessee Titans. Archived from the original on June 21, 2002.
- Zeigler Jr., Cyd (June 5, 2012). "Wade Davis Talks for the First Time About Being Gay, Working with LGBT Youth". Outsports. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Staff (June 7, 2012). "Gay NFL Player Wade Davis Kept Secret, Feared Locker Room Impact". Associated Press (via AOL Sports). Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Smith, Stephen (June 6, 2012). "Former NFL Player Wade Davis I Went to Strip Club to Hide from Being Gay". CBS News. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Penn State News, Athletics to host discussion on You Can Play, inclusion in sports, October 23, 2014.
- Samantha Neuber, Stanford Cal Athletes Unite for LGBT Inclusion Event, Stanford Daily, January 30, 2014.
- The Huffington Post, Wade Davis II.
- Moore, Darnell (June 22, 2012). "Wade Davis Jr. Former NFL Player Turned LGBT Advocate – The Football Hero-Turned Educator Discusses His Journey from the Closet to the Front Lines". Ebony. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Hamrick, Jeff (September 7, 2000). "Safety Gamble is a tad short". Denver Post. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "Wade Davis". NFL Europe. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003.
- "Wade Davis prospect biography". ESPN. Archived from the original on September 9, 2001.
- "NFL EUROPE in association with Sportsline.com". Web.archive.org. 2001-08-11. Archived from the original on August 11, 2001. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "NFL EUROPE in association with Sportsline.com". Web.archive.org. 2002-06-01. Archived from the original on June 1, 2002. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "NFL EUROPE in association with Sportsline.com". Web.archive.org. 2003-02-10. Archived from the original on February 10, 2003. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- "Ex-Titans CB Wade Davis comes out". espn.com. Associated Press. June 7, 2012.
- "Washington Redskins". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on August 3, 2003. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- Kent Babb, Wade Davis, a former Redskins player turned gay rights activist, worked with NFL on Michael Sam announcement, Washington Post, February 17, 2014.
- Soledad O’Brien, Former NFL player Wade Davis says it 'was very, very lonely' being closeted while playing, June 6, 2012.
- Jessica Taff, Out on the field: Former NFL player Wade Davis opens up, Al Jazeera America, May 12, 2014.
- All Things Considered, A Shifting Playing Field: Coming Out As A Gay Athlete, October 13, 2012.
- Here & Now, Ex-NFLer Wade Davis: League Is Ready For Gay Player, February 12, 2014.
- Lindsay H. Jones, Owners embrace Wade Davis' message on respect for gay players, USA Today, March 25, 2014.
- Darnell L. Moore, Exclusive: Wade Davis, Jr: Former NFL Player Turned LGBT Advocate, Ebony, June 22, 2012.
- Jeff Truesdell, Gay Former NFL Player Wade Davis: Out Youth Taught Me to Be Fearless, May 17, 2014.
- News Exclusives: Wade Davis Fights for Gay Rights (Part 1), June 15, 2012.
- Cyd Zeigler, Wade Davis talks for the first time about being gay in the NFL, working with LGBTQ youth, Outsports, Jun 5, 2012.
- Mike Freeman, NFL Draft: How Wade Davis and Others Paved the Way for Michael Sam, Bleacher Report, Apr 23, 2014.
- Wade Davis, Retired NFL Player, Joins NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business as an Adjunct Faculty Member.
- "Davis, Kahrl and Tuaolo Join You Can Play Advisory Board". The You Can Play Project. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- "Wade Davis, Out Gay Former NFL Player, Will Lead Group Promoting LGBT Equality In Sports". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- YOU Belong Initiative Sports Camp.
- YOU Belong Initiative, Speaker's Collective.
- "#ThisisLuvHighlights LGBT Love and Acceptance - Black Listed". EBONY. 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- Wade Davis II, #ThisIsLuv: Black Families+LGBT People= Love, February 16, 2015.
- Wade Davis, Coming Out: Is It All About You? Huff Post, October 11, 2012.
- Wade Davis and Darnell L. Moore, Tongues Untied: On 'Barbershop Conversations,' Black Masculinity, and Sexuality, Huff Post Gay Voices, July 27, 2012.
- Wade Davis, An Open Letter to Young LGBT Athletes, Huff Post Gay Voices, June 21, 2012.
- Wade Davis, The Bravest of All, Michael Sam Moves Us Forward, SI.com, Feb. 10, 2014.
- Wade Davis, Only Love Drives Out Hate, SI.com, Jul. 24, 2014.
- Wade Davis, Op-ed: How the NFL Is Tackling LGBT Issues, The Advocate, January 31, 2014.
- Wade Davis, Op-ed: How Straight Silence Betrays Gay Teammates, The Advocate, February 1, 2013.
- Wade Davis, Why is everyone so afraid of the NFL's first openly gay star? The Guardian, February 11, 2014.
- Keith Boykin,For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home (Magnus Books, 2012). ISBN 1936833158.
- "Biography". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
- The Leadership Lecture Series at the Burney Center at UNCW: Wade Davis, October 6, 2014.
- Press Release: GMHC Expands Leadership, February 3, 2015.
- The GLSEN Sports Project, Changing the Game Advisory Group: "Wade Davis". Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
- Opalewski, Kate (June 7, 2012). "Wade Davis Out for Obama – Former Out NFL Player on Paying It Forward". Between the Lines (via PrideSource). Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- News at Northeastern, Northeastern announces 2014 honorary degree recipients, April 4, 2014.
- Staff (September 18, 2013). "50 Black LGBT Adults Every Black LGBT Youth Should Know – #2 Wade Davis". National Youth Pride Services. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Holloway, Lynette (undated). "2012 The Root 100 – Wade Davis II Is an Ex-NFL Player Who Came Out of the Closet to Help Gay Athletes and Youths". The Root. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Dan Meyer, HBGC Honors NFL’s Wade Davis, Jr., Nov 23, 2012.
- Wade Davis on IMDb
- Staff (undated). "Wade Davis, Jr.". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Harosh, Alon (June 7, 2013). "Davis Says He Feared Coming Out Would Sink NFL Career". ABC News. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Boykin, Keith (June 7, 2012). "Wade Davis Comes Out on CNN". 4coloredboys.com. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Garcia, Michelle (August 14, 2012). "Football Player Wade Davis Helps Young Heroes Soar – Wade Davis Talks About Being Closeted in the NFL, Masculinity and Sport, and His Second Dream Job: Helping LGBT Youth". The Advocate. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
- Main Website: "Wade Davis"