A football player is preparing to come out as gay, according to reports.
According to CBS Sports Mike Freeman, a gay NFL player is strongly considering coming out publicly in the next few months, and after doing so attempt to continue his career.
He said: ‘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.’
There has never been an openly gay male sportsman in any of the major American team sports, but the information is coming from several current and former players.
Scott Fujita, a free agent linebacker who has played for the some of the NFL’s biggest teams, said: ‘I honestly thing 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.’
Several current NFL players have been some of the biggest allies when it comes to gay rights in the US, with supporters including Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.
In February, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs told WFAN Radio a gay teammate would be accepted in Baltimore’s locker room.
‘Some locker rooms are different, I only can speak for my own,’ Suggs said. ‘No, I don’t think (an openly gay player) would have a tough time in our locker room. We have a really laid-back, chill locker room, and we welcome everybody. We accept everybody for who they are.’
Earlier this year, American soccer player Robbie Rogers came out as openly gay. He also chose to retire at the same time.