Retired football star Deion Sanders says there was at least one gay player on all five NFL teams he played for during his Hall of Fame career – and everybody knew it.
Appearing this week in The Arsenio Hall Show, Sanders was asked about NLF prospect Michael Sam who came out publicly earlier this month. Sam would become the first openly gay player in the NFL if he is drafted by a team this spring.
‘He’s not the first gay guy in the NFL!’ Sanders told Hall. ‘He’s the first one to come out, let’s get that straight. Every team I’ve played on, there was someone…we always knew. But he was cool. That was our boy. We had to look out for him. Every team I’ve played on – five different teams – there was someone gay in the locker room.’
‘If he can make plays, he can play the game.’
Sanders, now an NFL television analyst, played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens. He won the Super Bowl with both the 49ers and the Cowboys.
Of his attitude towards gays in general he said: ‘I don’t nor do I condemn, but I’ve had a friend, family members… Everyone out there, you’ve had someone of homosexuality in your family — and someone whose on drugs and alcohol. How can I judge them?’
‘It’s up to me to give him love, to give him support, to just be there for him. So I don’t condone nor I condemn. But I’m gonna love him. Everybody in the NFL is always talking about football as a family but when you have the opportunity to really extend and show them that you’re a family member, this is the opportunity.’