Whether there is any truth behind it or not, professional sports locker rooms are generally stereotyped as homophobic environments. That is particularly true for the NFL, which is not surprising considering the aggressiveness and masculinity that is associated with the game of football. While many believe the NFL is filled with players who would not want to be on the same team as a person who was a homosexual, a number of current and former players recently spoke out in an attempt to counter that line of thinking. Here are the comments they shared with OutSports.com:
Jevon Kearse, former Titans defensive end
“In the game of football, it’s like a war out there. Once you get out on the field, all that stuff is to the side. You’re on my side. I played in the NFL for 11 years, I’m sure there were at least one or two guys along the line that were gay.”
Eddie George, former Titans running back
“I just don’t care about that. If that’s what you do, that’s what you do. I don’t hate you because of it or dislike you because of it. That’s not my personal preference, but I respect your decision. I’m not going to like you less or not be your friend because of that. I don’t see it as a problem. I don’t think it would have been a problem at all.”
Antonio Pierce, former Giants linebacker
“You have to accept it because he is a part of your team. He’s one of the 53 guys. Obviously he’s put in the sweat and the blood and the pain to get there. I’ll never knock him. As long as we can win a football game, I don’t care. As long as we’re winning football games and winning championships, that’s all that matters.”
Trent Richardson, Browns rookie running back
“I never pay attention to it (and I have friends who are gay). They do what they do. I don’t have a problem with them. As long as they’re playing good football and contributing to the team, I don’t have nothing to do with that. It is what it is. I don’t have any problem with any sexuality or whatever they’ve got going on. That’s them. That’s what they want to do. That’s their life.”
Four other rookies interviewed by OutSports.com echoed Richardson’s sentiments. The aforementioned opinions, of course, are not shared across the entire league. While many current and former Giants, including Michael Strahan, have been known advocates for the LGBT community in New York, Super Bowl 42 hero David Tyree once said that same-sex marriage would result in “anarchy” in America.
“How can marriage be marriage for thousands of years and now all the sudden because a minority, an influential minority, has a push or agenda … and totally reshapes something that was not founded in our country,” Tyree said.
Like anywhere else in the world, the NFL has people who have personal connections to homosexual individuals. As OutSports.com pointed out, former Packers running back Ahman Green has an openly gay brother and a lesbian sister and has long been critical of the way the gay community has to deal with discrimination.
As Roddy White reminded us last season, there are still players who don’t appreciate the sensitivity of the issue. As we know, the type of household someone was brought up in and where they were raised has an influence on their outlook. That being said, we have seen NBA players, NHL players, and now NFL players say they would openly support a gay teammate. While the NFL has yet to have an openly gay player on any team, there are certain to have been gay players on each and every roster at some point in time. The more support those players receive from current and former players, the closer professional sports can get to overcoming the issue.
H/T Shutdown Corner
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