There’s a rumor circulating around several sports sites about a NFL football player that is considering coming out of the closet. In a recent story published on CBS Sports, the player’s biggest concern is the reaction he may receive from the public.
While I’ve long believed I would not see an openly gay NFL player for decades, that might be wrong. Based on interviews over the past several weeks with current and former players, I’m told that a current gay NFL player is strongly considering coming out publicly within the next few months — and after doing so, the player would attempt to continue his career. I’m told this player feels the time is now for someone to take this step — despite homophobic remarks from San Francisco 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver and the controversy arising recently at the Indianapolis Scouting combine, when prospects were asked questions about their sexuality. This player’s true concern, I’m told, is not the reaction inside an NFL locker room but outside of it. The player fears he will suffer serious harm from homophobic fans, and that is the only thing preventing him from coming out. My sources will not say who this alleged player is.
In yesterday’s post about Kordell Stewart, there were plenty of comments about his sexuality. There have been rumors about his sexuality, even during his football career, but he has always stated he was heterosexual. There are currently a little less than 2000 players in the NFL. If we were leaning towards statistics, we could assume, at least a few of them are gay. But what’s keeping them in the closet? In sports like the WNBA, there are plenty of “out” athletes, who are proud of who they are.
There are those people who feel the need to “pull” people out of the closet and this is the fear I think many male athletes have. No one wants to be ‘outed’, but also there are those who don’t feel it’s necessary to wave a rainbow flag every day either.
In this year’s Indianapolis scouting combine, which I always compare to a job interview for football players, I felt questioning someone’s sexuality was a clear violation of privacy. Why does it matter to a team if a player is gay? It has nothing to do with their on the field performance.
If this player does disclose that he’s gay, I hope he’s supported by his teammates and if issues do arise , I hope the NFL institutes guidelines that can protect this player, and possibly others who come out as well.