Is the NFL ready for an open gay player? This has been a debate that has recently heated up in the world of sports. According to Mike Freeman of CBS sports on Monday, there may be a player ready to make history and become the first NFL player to come out as gay while still active.
The player’s name nor his identity has been revealed, but the player feels now is the time to take the step. Freeman reported that the player is considering coming out in the next few months based on interviews with current and former players, but his major concern is actually the reaction of homophobic fans and not how he will be received in the locker room which most would think would be the major concern as evident by comments back San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver during the Super Bowl.
Culliver expressed discomfort and made homophobic comments that he later apologized for. Culliver’s views did raise the issue on whether a player would be accepted by teammates. It has been a question that has been answered by former and current players.
Former NFL player turned actor Matt Willig said he is sure that he played with at least one gay player. He doesn’t feel the majority of guys he played with would care about a player’s sexual orientation.
“I would have relished the opportunity to stand up alongside a player who came out while he was playing and say it doesn’t change a thing about how I feel about this guy.”
The sentiments are shared by current player Scott Fujita who is tired of the bigotry and wants to help the NFL transcend into a comfortable atmosphere for gay football players. He feels it is time and the players are definitely ready.
“I honestly think the players of the NFL have been ready for an openly gay player for quite some time now. Trust me, the coming out of a player would create much bigger waves outside the locker room than inside. The way I’ve seen the conversation around LGBT issues evolve, especially in the past few years, has been encouraging. Guys are more accepting than they used to be. Even those who raise personal objections to homosexuality, some of whom are good friends of mine, would still be able to coexist and accept a gay teammate.”
Over the past couple of years NFL players such as Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe have been very vocal when it comes to gay rights and even the NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell has spoken out about being very protective of his gay brother, so if there is a time, the time is definitely now.