Emmitt Smith unsure if NFL is ready for openly gay player

Is an NFL player ready to follow in Jason Collins’ footsteps?

Late last month, Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, became the first active player in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to announce that he is gay. Collins’ decision to go public was met with support from fellow NBA players and athletes from other leagues, including the NFL.

But is the NFL ready for a player to come forward?

“It’s still taboo,” former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith said Friday. “I don’t know if the NFL is ready for it or not. I mean, it’s not for me to even say. Bottom line is, you are who you are, do what you do.

“The bottom line: Can you block this left tackle? Can you catch this pass? Can you make a tackle when I need you to make a tackle? That’s it.”

Smith held a charity dinner Friday night at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas to kick off the fourth-annual Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational weekend. The event, which raises money for Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, attracted several former NFL stars, including Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders.

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