NFL Linebacker Scott Fujita Comes Out For Marriage Equality
NFL Linebacker Scott Fujita Comes Out For Marriage Equality
Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita is the Human Rights Campaign's latest American for Marriage Equality. Fujita joins other pro-equality NFL players and former players, including Nic Harris, Michael Irvin, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Michael Strahan. There are not currently any openly gay NFL players, but the league added sexual orientation to its contract non-discrimination policy this year. Watch Fujita’s supportive video:
(Video at link)
NFL player Scott Fujita has spoken out about the issue of a lack of gay players in professional sport, and has said that he thinks it would “not be an issue at all” to have a gay player in the locker room.
The Cleveland Browns player said in an interview that more straight athletes needed to show their support for gay people to come out in professional sport.
He went on to say that he thought that times had changed, but that there was still a perception that the NFL, and locker rooms were homophobic, but that was not the case, reports NESN.
He said: “It takes more and more straight athletes to come out and show our support and that’s what it’s about,” said Fujita. “I think for far too long there was this perception, or I guess I would call it a misperception, that our locker rooms in the NFL are extremely homophobic and that could not be further from the truth.
“I would argue that the overwhelming majority would be fine with having a teammate who was gay. I said the only way you are going to find out if that was the case if you start asking guys how they would feel about having a gay teammate.”
He was asked whether he thought it would be an issue for players on his team to have a gay teammate, to which he replied “It would not be an issue at all.”
Going on to say that he thought he had seen progress in recent years, he said: “the conversation has evolved considerably just in the last three or four years.
“I appreciate the fact that more minds are being open to talking about this conversation, and in the very near future it’s going to be the point where this conversation won’t even need to be had.”
Mentioning recent rumours that teams at an NFL Combine scouting event had asked a player about his sexuality, Fujita was frank in saying that was inappropriate.
He said: “Certainly asking someone about their sexuality — first of all it’s against the law. Second of all, it’s absolutely a violation of our CBA and that’s where the NFL the onus is on them to do the right thing.”
On Proposition 8, California’s statewide ban on equal marriage, Fujita tweeted on Friday: “Text I just got from a good friend: ‘Love that the United States is telling the Supreme Court to repeal Prop 8′”.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, of the Baltimore Ravens, the team which won this year’s Super Bowl, and Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, wrote an amicus brief, and filed it last Thursday. It urged the Supreme Court to act against legislation preventing equal marriage.
Ayanbadejo recently expressed regret at the fact that gay, prospective NFL players may need to lie about their sexuality, when asked, in order to get drafted as professional players.
Jim Miller, a former NFL footballer, and current radio analyst for Michigan State University games came under heavy criticism this week for saying in a radio interview that he thought some sections of society would never accept gay football players.
The panel on a debate at National Student Pride Saturday emphasised the importance of tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport, said they had seen some change, but that much more action needed to be taken.
On the panel for the debate were rugby star and equal rights advocate Ben Cohen, John Amaechi, openly gay former NBA player, Premiership footballer Graeme Le Saux, and Delia Johnston, an anti-transphobia campaigner. The debate was hosted by Evan Davis, presenter for BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
The panel emphasised the need for more action in general on tackling homophobia in all sports. They also suggested that reports that sportspeople fearing that sponsorship deals being dropped were not necessarily the problem.
At the debate on homophobia in sport, Cohen suggested that bosses in sports such as Premiership football needed to do more to tackle the problem of homophobia within the sport head on.
He said: “There are many other sports which don’t have that problem. People in the Premiership don’t treat their fellow players with respect.
“There is no respect for the referee. He doesn’t have any power on the pitch and you have to talk to the top of the game to get that sorted out. Then you feed that through to the grassroots level,” he continued.
Cohen went on to say that he thought the sporting industries were slowly beginning to see forward movement against homophobia in sports, and that he hoped to see a shift going forward.
He said: “In ten years time we will be well on our way to [sportspeople] being judged on your talent, not on your sexuality, and it will be better for the next generation.”
I'm sorry, but at this point in history, all the "right" owners, GM's, fellow players, and fans are less important than an A, B, or even high C-list current player sacking them up and coming out of the closet.
As I posted in the Jim Miller thread, it's past time for a gay active player to step up and be the Jackie Robinson, Althea Gibson, or Janet Mears of 21st century sport.
We can't expect this to be a casualty free, drama free process where everybody accepts the openly gay athlete with open arms. It's as if we're saying it was OK for *those* pioneers to go through hell for the love of the game, and for future generations to not go through what they went through; but for us? Nope, it's red carpet and 100% support all the way, or we ain't darting out of that closet, no way.
Sorry, that's not the way this works. We cannot lead from behind.
Brendon Ayanbadejo was on Face The Nation this morning. He's being attacked on his Facebook and he just went OFF.