Long-time New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo have been among those leading the charge for the acceptance and integration of gay players in the NFL for some time now. Soon enough, that long hypothesized idea could become a reality.
While Fujita, Ayanbadejo and others continue to fight to make NFL locker rooms a safe and comfortable environment for potentially gay teammates, there may be one current player ready to come out publicly, according to Mike Freeman of CBS Sports. He would also try to continue playing in the league after making the announcement.
The report indicates that the mystery player feels that now is the time to come out, even in light of players making homophobic comments, such as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver during Super Bowl week. The player reportedly isn’t worried about the reaction or treatment from people inside the locker room, but rather the fans and others he’ll deal with outside the team.
Fujita, who has felt NFL locker rooms have been ready for gay players for a while, echoed those sentiments.
“I honestly think the players of the NFL have been ready for an openly gay player for quite some time now,” said Fujita. ”Trust me, 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.”
There is reportedly no timetable for when the player might actually come out, but if the reveal does happen it would be a major landmark victory for the gay community and those, like Fujita, fighting for equal rights.
Meanwhile, former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris has confirmed that he is gay and said he wished he would have come out while he was still playing.