Strahan on Friday became the third professional athlete behind
Steve Nash and Sean Avery to endorse gay marriage by recording a
30-second video for the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) New Yorkers for
Marriage Equality Campaign.
In the video, the 39-year-old former
Giants defensive end says he feels “it's unfair to stop committed
couples from getting married” and urges New Yorkers to support
Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to make New York the sixth state to
legalize gay marriage. (The video is embedded in the right panel of
New York Rangers winger Sean Avery was
the first professional athlete to join the campaign in May; three
weeks later Phoenix
Suns point guard Steve Nash followed suit.
endorsement created the most controversy – either because he
was the first or because of the hockey player's reputation as an
agitator – opening a previously mostly silent discussion on
homophobia in professional sports.
While Strahan is the first NFL player
to record a video endorsing marriage for gay and lesbian couples,
he's not the only NFL player speaking out in favor of the
In tweeting support for CNN
anchor Don Lemon's decision to come out gay, Baltimore Ravens
wide receiver Donte Stallworth also expressed support for marriage
equality: “Wanda Sykes: 'If you don't believe in same sex
marriage, don't marry the same sex.' #EnoughSaid.”
And in March, Baltimore Ravens
linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo recorded a video urging Marylanders to
support a gay marriage bill being debated in the Legislature.
“Gay and lesbian couples want to
marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It's
time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through
marriage. It's a matter of fairness,” he said in the video.
Several NFL players, including New
England Patriots Bret
Lockett, Carolina Panthers linebacker Nic
Harris, New York Jets cornerbacker Antonio Cromartie, Arizona
Cardinals linebacker Isaac Keys, and former NFL lineman Esera
Tavai Tuaolo, have posed for the NOH8 Campaign, which raises
awareness and funds for gay rights causes, including ending
California's 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.