It seems that President Barack Obama isn’t the only high-profile D.C. resident who has expressed his support for the gay community. Washington Redskins’ rookie Robert Griffin III stated that he would have no problem playing with an openly gay teammate.
Griffin was among a dozen rookies and former stars who were interviewed by Outsports.com, a website that caters to the gay sports community. Rookies Trent Richardson and Coby Fleener were also interviewed as well as former players Jevon Kearse, Ahman Green and Eddie George.
While these players said they would have no problem playing alongside someone that is openly gay, some of the players interviewed said they did understand why a gay player would be reluctant to come out of the closet.
Football is a tough, masculine game. Some players speculated that gay players may feel they would be judged because homosexuality doesn’t mesh with people’s view of football as a manly game.
Griffin revealed that he actually had a gay teammate in high school who revealed his sexuality after quitting the team. Griffin felt that his former teammate quit because he believed he wouldn’t be accepted.
And his former teammate probably had good reason to be fearful. Anyone who has ever been in a locker room on any level of sports knows that a lot of derogatory terms get thrown around. Some are taken in jest but most guys get really upset when their masculinity is questioned.
Then there are some players who have no problems speaking their minds. When President Obama announced his support of gay marriage, there were athletes who went on record opposing his stance.
Now just imagine how much more willing people are to express their views in private. All it takes is one player in the locker room making a gay-bashing comment to make a gay player even more determined to hide his sexuality.
So it seems that the NFL has its own “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And as long as no player is willing to test the waters then we will never know if football is a sport where an openly gay player can thrive.
Do you think an openly gay player would be accepted by his team and fans?
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.