Will the NFL accept an openly gay player? Tony's Take - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Will the NFL accept an openly gay player? Tony's Take

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Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy says that if NFL players would accept a gay teammate, then a player would have come out by now, because nobody understands the culture of an NFL locker room more than those who are in it. Valid point, but how long should those oppressed wait, before initiating change themselves?

This is a hot topic in the NFL, on the heels of the Combine, during which many teams wondered if Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is gay, and, worse, one team actually asked Colorado tight end Nick Kasa if he is. Specifically, the team asked Kasa "do you like girls?".

This violates federal employment law, so publicly, league officials say they're investigating. But that doesn't address the deeper issue: would an outwardly gay player disrupt an NFL locker room, and, even if the player was accepted, would fans?

I can't speak for players inside the room, where the climate doesn't remotely resemble most workplaces protected by federal employment laws, but I can speak as a football fan, a sportscaster, and most of all, a human being, and honestly say, I don't care.

I don't care if a player is gay. I don't care if a player is straight. I don't care what a player does in his own time, as long as he's not abusing people, animals or laws. His personal life is just that. And while I understand there would be an immediate reaction, if not backlash, by some people inside and outside the organization, that would end the moment the player delivers on the field.

The world is changing, faster in some places than in others, but sports has long been used as a tool for social change. Why not with this issue? Trust me, there are gay players in the NFL. And the heterosexual players know who they are. And the game goes on. A player "coming out" would only be another giant step forward.

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