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Wade  Davis

Wade Davis

Former NFL Player, Equality Advocate & Educator


Former NFL player Wade Davis is a thought leader, writer, public speaker, and educator on gender, race, and orientation equality. While in the NFL, Davis played for the Tennessee Titans, the Washington Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks, as well as for two different teams within the NFL Europe league. Read More >

In 2012, Davis “invited in” the rest of the world in an interview owning is his sexuality as a gay man.  Davis is now the NFL’s first LGBT inclusion consultant where he leads training sessions and national engagement initiatives, including the Hi-Five project, working to further create affirming space in sports for LGBT athletes. Numerous professional sports leagues including the NHL, CFL, and MLS rely on Davis to provide guidance on inclusion matters at the intersection of sexism and homophobia.

Most recently, Davis worked as the Special Advisor of Athlete Engagement at RISE, a non-profit organization started by Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen M. Ross. At RISE, Davis worked directly with leagues, athletes and teams to create strategic initiatives using sports as a vehicle to bring communities together around issues of social injustice.

Beyond Davis’ work in the sports world, he is currently a senior diversity and inclusion consultant at YSC, a global think tank and leadership-consulting firm. At YSC, Davis works with Fortune 500 corporations to co-create transformative solutions to link an organization’s diversity and inclusion goals to their people and commercial strategies.

Davis added actor and television consultant to his resume when he guest starred and consulted on American Crime, ABC’s critically acclaimed series from Oscar-winner John Ridley.

Davis is dedicated to using his platforms and social currency to highlight issues affecting those most marginalized including an intentional and specific focus on issues that directly impact women and girls.

In March of 2016, Davis gave his first TEDx Talk at the University of Florida, The Mask of Masculinity. As in his talk, Davis looks to continually engage men through multiple outlets and vehicles to become more self-reflective and divest themselves of patriarchal practices.

In partnership with the Ms. Foundation and Ebony Magazine, Davis launched the #BlackMenAndFeminism campaign, focusing on conversations with Black men around their perceptions and understanding of feminism. Davis helped launch the Ms. Foundation’s #MyFeminismIs campaign in the fall of 2015 with a series of videos, including one featuring a conversation on feminism with The Nation’s Mychal Denzel Smith.

Planned Parenthood’s PSA campaign #StandWithPP prominently features Davis speaking on the need to ensure that all women have access to safe, affordable, and quality healthcare. Davis continues to work with Planned Parenthood, recently interviewing President Cecile Richards at the Commonwealth Club and speaking at the organization’s global headquarters.

Additionally, Davis has worked with Huffington Post Women to film content centered on men as feminists and Mic.com on the #AthletesUnited campaign to bring attention to the issue of sexual assault. Davis has also spoken at the NCAA’s diversity conference to address the intersection of sexism and homophobia in sports, as well as next steps for inclusion and forward motion.

As an educator, Davis was an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business and served as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration. Davis has lectured on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and sports at universities nationally and internationally, and is the former assistant director of academic enrichment and work-readiness for the Hetrick-Martin Institute, where he taught at-promise LGBT youth how to define success.

Davis is a frequent guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, CNN, ESPN, and BET. His essays and writings have appeared in media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, the Advocate, Huffington Post, the New York Times, Ebony, the Guardian, and the White House Blog. Davis has spoken at and/or provided workshops and trainings at over 100 colleges, universities, and corporations nationally and internationally, including Stanford University, Penn State University, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, Fox, Pepsi Co, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank.

Wade Davis was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In 2014 Davis received an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Northeastern University for his leadership and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia and sexism in athletics. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

APB Presents: Wade Davis

TEDTalk: The Mask of Masculinity

LGBT & Sports

Wade Davis on American Crime

Intersections of Inclusion

Expand the Idea of Masculinity

Feminism Should end Patriarchy

Speech Topics

LGBT & Sports: The Coming Out Process

As a former NFL player and one of the few openly gay former professional athletes, Wade shares his own coming out process and the work he does as an LGBT consultant for the NFL and as Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, an organization with partnership with including the NHL, MLS, CFL and others.

At Risk vs. At Promise: Defining Inner City Youth

When working in marginalized communities, the words and the language that we use matters, and how we talk about the young people we are trying to impact can determine how we show up – as social justice advocates or as saviors.  Do we see their promise? Do we see them as we look at ourselves in the mirror? While working with marginalized youth at the Hetrick-Martin Instiute, teaching at the Harvey Milk High School, and creating the country's only inner city LGBT sports camp, Wade explains how to embody this idea of fictive kinship and see the promise in young people.

Masculinity: An Imaginary Friend

How do you define masculinity?  Wade defines masculinity as an imaginary friend, and if left unchecked, masculinity can be highly toxic. Through his teachings and training, he’s learned we must do the work to unlearn the seductive nature of sexism and toxic masculinity, and move to create space for all without stigma and shame being attached. Wade talks about the work he's done to undo the constraints of perceived masculinity, and move forward in a positive way. Read More >

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Intentional Diversity & Inclusion

Have we emptied the true meaning of intersectionality by only changing the optics of organizations, without understanding the structural and institutional challenges that go unnoticed?  Through practical and tangible examples, see how Wade can help your business evolve into a space where diversity and inclusion becomes part of your organizational DNA.

Sexism: How Ending Sexist Oppression Will Free Men

Far too often we imagine that ending sexism impacts only women. Yet if we re-imagine the gender roles and expand our understanding of masculinity and femininity, men benefit from the expansion:  how they can show up in world without the pressures of performing toxic forms of hyper masculinity. Wade explores his own dialog with feminism, tools to be pro-active about ending the sexist dialog, and leads conversation around the topic.