March 26th, 2013 | By love not hate
The National Football League may soon be faced with its first openly gay player – a man who intends to keep playing after coming out.
Football has never had a gay active player in its nearly 100-year history, but some have argued that it’s time for a change.
That change is likely to come sooner rather than later, as a player is reportedly preparing to make a public announcement about his sexual orientation before the 2013 season.
Divisive issue: There has never been an openly gay active player in football’s nearly 100-year history
Activists: Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, left, and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, right, have emerged as outspoken LGBT advocates in the NFL
CBS sportswriter Mike Freeman writes: ‘I’m told that a current gay NFL player is strongly considering coming out publicly within the next few months – and after doing so, the player would attempt to continue his career.’
Freeman did not say who the player is or any specifics about when his announcement would be made.
But whoever the player is, he can count on the support of former players like Scott Fujita and active stars like Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who are all outspoken LGBT advocates.
Fujita told Freeman: ‘I honestly think the players of the NFL have been ready for an openly gay player for quite some time now.
Controversy: Chris Culliver sparked uproar when he suggested that gay men were not welcome in the 49ers locker room
He added: ‘Trust me, the coming out of a player would create much bigger waves outside the locker room than inside.’
But on the opposite end of the spectrum are opponents and a culture of homophobia.
Days before the Super Bowl, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was asked about the prospect of gay players in the locker room during a radio interview.
Culliver shot back: ‘I don’t do the gay guys man. I don’t do that.’
When asked if he believed there were any gay players on the 49ers roster, Culliver responded: ‘No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.’
Culliver later issued a bizarre apology for his remarks, saying that the comments were a ‘reflection of thoughts in my head’ but not representative of how he feels.
A debate about gay players in the NFL was sparked anew in the Manti Te’o ‘fake girlfriend’ hoax, where the former Notre Dame football star claimed that he was the victim of a prankster who was posing as a woman and later faked her death.
It was alleged that Te’o was gay and had invented the online persona in an attempt to cover it up.
He denied he was behind the scam – as well as being gay – in an interview with talk show host Katie Couric.
Hoax: A debate about gay players in the NFL was sparked anew in the Manti Te’o ‘fake girlfriend’ scandal, where the star claimed that he was the victim of an online prankster
At the NFL scouting combine earlier this month, Te’o – as well as several other players – were reportedly asked about their sexual orientations.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called such a line of questioning ‘unacceptable,’ and the New York attorney general has urged the league to investigate.
Michigan quarterback-turned-receiver Denard Robinson, Colorado tight end Nick Kasa and Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell indicated they were asked about their sexual orientation at the combine earlier this month in Indianapolis.
Holding firm: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said asking potential players to reveal their sexual orientation is ‘unacceptable’
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