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NFL adds 'sexual orientation' protection to collective bargaining agreement

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Pete Olsen at Wide Rights did a comparison of the collective bargaining agreements between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2006 and 2011. What he found was pretty cool: The addition of "sexual orientation" in the article on player security.

Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.

Olsen wonders in his blog whether it was Robert Kraft, Scott Fujita (whom he rules out thanks to a Twitter exchange)...or Ted Olsen and David Boies:

Olson and Boies are the two lead attorneys of the case challenging the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California. They also were on opposite sides of the NFL negotiations (Boies with the owners and Olson with the players).

Either way, this is fantastic news. NFL players are now protected based on sexual orientation. Sports is no longer a homophobic place. Yes, there are people who are homophobic. Some of them are players, some are owners, some are coaches and some are fans. But as an institution, sports is dramatically less homophobic than it was 10 years ago.

Interestingly, this doesn't protect employees at NFL teams. Some teams do have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. The San Francisco 49ers are believed to be the first to offer the benefits, as mandated by the City of San Francisco. Still, it's a team-by-team decision. In 2003 Outsports polled all 32 NFL teams; Most wouldn't even discuss the issue with us at the time (though it was eight years ago).

Read Olsen's full analysis at WideRights.com.