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14 of 18 Pro Bowlers Surveyed Said They Would Welcome Gay Teammate
Things have been a little quiet on the gay athlete front recently. Michael Sam‘s career stalled and he just kind of faded away, and Jason Collins retired. We’re still waiting for the next revelation that can help LGBT athletes take the next step and gain full acceptance from their peers.
The good news is that, if that next revelation should come from an NFL player, it sounds like he will be welcomed with open arms. According to a report from Outsports this week, 14 of 18 players surveyed at the Pro Bowl in Orlando over the weekend said they would welcome a gay player on their team.
Writer Jeremy Brener asked 18 players for their thoughts on LGBT issues, including the Pulse nightclub shooting and having a gay teammate. Alex Smith (Chiefs QB) and Bobby Wagner (Seahawks LB) gave a no comment. Marquette King (Raiders P) said he didn’t pay attention to current events, and Darren Sproles (Eagles RB) said he didn’t know what LGBT meant. However 14 of the players surveyed expressed positive attitudes toward LGBT issues.
Those players were Walt Aikens (Dolphins DB), Doug Baldwin (Seahawks WR), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Packers DB), Thomas Davis (Panther LB), Casey Heyward (Charger DB), Jordan Howard (Bears RB), Travis Kelce (Chiefs TE), DeMarco Murray (Titans RB), Greg Olsen (Panthers TE), Matt Prater (Lions K), Harrison Smith (Vikings DB), Joe Thomas (Browns T), Mike Tolbert (Panthers FB), and Leonard Williams (Jets DE).
Not all 14 players sounded like they were ready to go out and march in a gay pride parade. Clinton-Dix said if teammates are gay “that’s on them,” and Travis Kelce characterized homosexuality as “views and opinions.”
That said, it’s probably not fair to read too much into their word choice, and acceptance of things you are not totally familiar with is still a big step in the right direction.
Browns tackle Joe Thomas probably put it best.
“It’s amazing that the opinions in the locker room have changed 180 degrees from when I first started playing football to where they are right now,” Thomas told Brener. “I think every locker room in the NFL would accept an openly gay teammate with open arms now, whereas it was such a taboo thing to even talk about when I first got into the league. I think that speaks to the tremendous progress that LGBT issues have had in such a short period of time.”
Hat Tip – [Outsports]