At the Super Bowl, San Francisco cornerback Chris Culliver drew criticism for saying a gay player wouldn’t be accepted in the 49ers locker room. Culliver apologized and underwent sensitivity training.
In February, the National Football League faced scrutiny after general managers at the annual rookie scouting combine wanted to know the sexual orientation of certain players.
During an April interview with The Baltimore Sun, former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo said: “I think it will happen sooner than you think,” Ayanbadejo said. “We’re in talks with a handful of players who are considering it. There are up to four players being talked to right now and they’re trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together. It would make a major splash and take the pressure off one guy. It would be a monumental day if a handful or a few guys come out.”
What a difference a few months make.
“The NFL should schedule a mass-coming out — everybody at the same time,” said Ayanbadejo, “and the four remaining straights will feel the injustice gay players have suffered all these years, uncomfortable in their own skin. Maybe those four come out too — unless they stay resilient and convince everyone in the league to rejoin heterosexuality. In that case, it’s back to square one.”
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch isn’t worried, saying the league’s transition into homosexuality has been a long time coming. “All players should meet in front of the press as one, hold hands in solidarity and finally be honest with our families and fans.” Lynch would not confirm whether he was gay or straight.
Upon hearing the news, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick fluttered with excitement, swiftly clapping his hands as he shrieked, “Imma bout to go cray-cray. I’ll bring my posse and everyone will be there, we’ll have a parade and we’ll all throw beads! It’ll be glorious.”
Just last week, the sports world welcomed Jason Collins as the first openly gay player in any of the four major sports. Commissioner Roger Goodell, no doubt feeling pressure from the rival NBA’s announcement, stepped up his original: “there’s no need to make this a celebration,” to today’s, “who am I to stand in the way of a parade?”
The commissioner further suggested the NFL has tentatively made plans to perform pre-game player marriages in states where it is permitted by law, as well as provide grief counseling for fans of teams in the AFC South.
The four confirmed straight players have not yet announced and it’s unknown at this time if there are plans for them to come forward. It’s widely understood that the pressure to be heterosexual in such a homosexually-charged atmosphere is as psychologically disruptive as hazing or solitary confinement. Goodell said he intends to stand up to gay-on-straight bullying of any kind by implementing tolerance and sensitivity training as well as therapy for repeated heterophobes.
UPDATE– May 1, 2013: And then there were three. An e-mail from Tom Brady’s agent Donald Yee confirms that as part of his recent extension, heterosexuality was specifically written into his client’s contract. The Patriots have yet to speak on the record however team spokesman Stacey James shrugged off questions during a recent conference call, then laughed hysterically for slightly over eight minutes.
Of the Brady confirmation, former teammate Wes Welker tweeted: “I can’t wait to play with an openly flaming quarterback, they usually diagram tight routes,” referring to new Denver teammate Peyton Manning. “Stuff your way through the line, get yourself wide open, turn and know that Peyton is throwing you the ball?” he said. “All I’m thinking is: don’t blow it, don’t release early.”