Football player turned activist comes to Franklin College

During his time playing professional football, Wade Davis II had to struggle not only with the physical grind of battling some of the best athletes on earth, but also the emotional strain that comes with keeping your true self hidden from everyone around you.

A closeted gay man throughout his years in the National Football League and NFL Europe during the early 2000s, Davis came out publicly years later and now uses his platform to let others know they don’t have to be ashamed of who they are or struggle to define themselves as he did.

Davis will speak at Franklin College on Thursday evening as part of the school’s 2019-20 Convocation Lecture Series. His talk, titled “Forming Identity in a Complicated Society/Culture,” will be centered on the idea that each of us has to form our own identity based on who we really are on the inside, resisting the external pressure to be somebody else, according to a news release from the college.

Hannah Adams Ingram, who serves as the chairman of the Convocation Lecture Series committee, said Davis was invited to speak in part because of his ability to reach a wide variety of people with his message.

“His experiences and interests align with so much that our campus emphasizes,” Ingram said. “His experience as an NFL player appeals to a campus that supports a robust athletic program, and his current work in consulting global businesses speaks to FC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as our emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“There are many ways for students, faculty, staff, and community members to connect to Wade Davis.”

Davis came out publicly in an interview on Outsports.com in 2012. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Good Housekeeping and The Guardian, among other publications.

Thursday’s lecture, the third and final one in the 2019-20 Convocation Lecture Series, begins at 7 p.m. in the Branigin Room of the Napolitan Student Center. It is open to the public and admission is free.

If you go

“Forming Identity in a Complicated Society/Culture”

Who: Wade Davis II, former pro football player turned equality activist

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Branigin Room in the Napolitan Student Center at Franklin College

Admission: Free

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