"Football players have long been cast as some of the most homophobic men in our culture." With that statement, Outsports.com, a member of SB Nation, author Cyd Ziegler, Jr. began a look at the feelings of current and former NFL players with regards to the possibility of having an openly gay teammate. Maybe surprisingly, the overwhelming sentiment of the players interviewed by Ziegler was that players would support and welcome an openly gay teammate, just like they would any other member of the team.
Former Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse summed up the majority of the comments, stating, "In the game of football, it's like a war out there. Once you get out on the field, all that stuff is to the side. You're on my side. I played in the NFL for 11 years, I'm sure there were at least one or two guys along the line that were gay."
Players were extremely open with Ziegler, including former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green, who stated for the first time that his brother and sister are both homosexual. "The gay community is just like everybody else, but they're treated differently," Green said. "It's a double standard. If a guy was, he wouldn't come out while he was playing. He knows the possibility of the scrutiny he might face from the locker room, which would be unfair. I am very open-minded. It is what it is. People are born that way. You can't control it. Just like you're white, I'm black. But a lot of people don't think my way. I wish they did, because then there wouldn't be guys who wanted to stay hidden."
Ziegler also spoke to a number of the rookies at the NFLPA's Rookie Premier this past week, including quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin was the only player to say he has played with an openly gay teammate, a member of his Coperas Cove (TX) High School team. Griffin, who also said he has gay friends and wouldn't be bothered by a Washington Redskins teammate coming out, however did say his former teammate quit playing shortly after his announcement to the team.
"When he came out, he stopped playing," Griffin said. "He might have stopped playing because of the negative feedback he might have gotten from being that on the football team. So, I think that's probably why he ended up quitting."
But, to Griffin, a person being gay has no bearing. "Just because they're gay doesn't mean they're hitting on you," he said.
Fellow rookie Trent Richardson weighed in as well, and, like RG3, said he has openly gay friends. "I never pay attention to it," Richardson said. "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."
Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver broke down the situation into the simpliest form, "You can't discriminate. It's just like black, white, same thing. You wouldn't discriminate against my race, just like I wouldn't discriminate against your sexuality."
Check out the full article on Outsports.com, and watch the interview in the video above. Let us know your thoughts below.