Former NFL defensive end turned ESPN commentator Marcellus Wiley was asked about an out player in the NFL by the Huffington Post. Wiley said he was Esera Tuaolo's teammate and that the guys joked with Tuaolo about him being gay (before he came out). And as we hear over and over and over and over and over, Wiley's fine with it...but he thinks everyone else isn't.
It would really be tough for a gay guy in the NFL, for the locker room to understand him as a homosexual -- I'm not saying it's impossible to pull off, but I'm saying right now the fear of coming out of the closet and more so coming out in the locker room would really be too tremendous to overcome. It's unfortunate because it shouldn't be that way.
I understand that the locker room is pretty intimate. I do understand that there are 53 guys walking around nude at times and I do understand how guys may feel uncomfortable, but I don't think that it should impair someone's decision to live their life, have their freedoms and express themselves. I don't know whether that will be five, ten or twenty years from now but right now the NFL culture has no tolerance toward it.
I am so tired of this answer. First, it's simply not true. How can he say "the NFL culture has no tolerance toward it" when more than half the players in a recent poll said they would be okay if a teammate is gay? How can he say there is "no tolerance toward it" when there are players like Scott Fujita and Brendan Ayanbadejo who are vocal supporters of gay equality?
Despite his Columbia education, Wiley is just another one of the good ol' boys who doesn't want to rock the boat. He'd rather sit in his air conditioned ESPN studio, yuck it up with the other fools on NFL Live, and continue to push this idea that someone cannot come out in the NFL when every shred of evidence points the other direction.
"Oh, you haven't been in an NFL locker room. You don't know. Everyone's afraid of the gay guy in the locker room."
Bullshit. It'd be an issue for half the team for about two weeks, and then it would be an issue for 10% of the team for the rest of the season. It'd be harder on a team coached by an anti-gay coach like Tony Dungy; It'd be easier on a team like the San Francisco 49ers who have a tradition of gay acceptance. Wiley himself said Esera was teased in a friendly, joking way...then he says it would be some horrible armageddon.
Don't tell me that a three-time Pro Bowl ANYTHING would have trouble coming out on an NFL team. Don't tell me that! Because it's just not true.
Hat tip to Pete at WideRights.