A gay NFL player is considering coming out of the closet. If the reports are true, the he would be the first active openly gay athlete in American team sports.
Now may be the perfect time for a gay NFL player to come out. Before the Super Bowl, San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver said a gay player would not be welcome in the team’s locker room. He was not speaking for the team though. A number of San Francisco 49ers were quick to counter his statement.
Culliver quickly apologized and has since begun volunteering with the Trevor Project to educate himself about equality and acceptance. The quick reaction from the team and the league shows then NFL’s desire for an end to discrimination.
In fact, a number of NFL players including free agent linebacker Scott Fujita, believe now is the time for a gay player to come out. NFL reporter Mike Freeman claims that a player is considering coming out in the next few months. In his blog, Freeman admits, “I’ve long believed I would not see an openly gay NFL player for decades,” before claiming, “that might be wrong.”
The gay NFL player considering coming out is keeping his identity under wraps for now. Freeman says sources close to the player feels now is the right time to come out. In fact, the player’s concerns aren’t even about how his teammates might react in locker room.
The player is more concerned about how fans would react. He is worried about how homophobic fans will treat him. The sad truth is he has every right to be concerned. Sports fans are notoriously ruthless and unforgiving. Scott Fujita shares the same concerns as the player:
” 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.”
If the gay NFL player does openly come out, he is not planning to retire. He plans to continue his career regardless of how fans react. He is part of a growing number of athletes who believe discrimination in sports based on sexual preferences should end, and he is willing to take a major stand to fight it.
Is now the right time for a gay NFL player to come out of the closet?