A number of American football players insist they will be untroubled if a teammate comes out.
Presently there are no out athletes in the National Football League. However, as reported by the blog Outsports, many players, even those new to the professional game, expressed support for a gay peer.
The blog’s writer, Cyd Zeigler, attended the NFLPA Rookie Premiere and interviewed approximately a dozen up and coming football stars. The athletes shared stories of having either gay family or friends, or having a gay teammate. None expressed any doubts about playing side by side with a gay man.
Robert Griffin, III was picked second in the NFL Draft (an opportunity for professional teams to choose college players). Last year he was the standout of Baylor University’s football team, and won the 2011 Heisman Trophy. He told the blog a story of a player on his high-school team who came out. Unfortunately the student stopped playing (Griffin thinks it might have been due to ‘negative feedback’); however, the Washington Redskins rookie quarterback learned the game doesn’t change with gay teammates.
‘Just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re hitting on you,’ he said.
All of the athletes interviewed echoed the sentiments of Trent Richardson. His college team, Alabama University, won two national championships, and he will play for the Cleveland Browns in the fall (American football is played in the autumn and early winter).
‘I never pay attention to it,’ Richardson said, noting he has gay friends. ‘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.’
A handful of NFL players have come out, but only after they retired.