ESPN columnist LZ Granderson recently gave the NFL a pat on the back for their gay-rights efforts. I personally think they have a long way to go, and I know the NFL is currently refusing to talk about LGBT issues, leaving it up to the teams. Still, LZ's point is that they have at least done something. And while not enough, it's a step in the right direction that they didn't have to make:
Back then [when Esera Tuaolo came out] one-time teammate Sterling Sharpe, in reaction to Tuaolo's news, said an openly gay player wouldn't make it to his next game. Today, Section 1 of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement reads: "No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA."
Various teams have taken strides as well, as we previously pointed out with the Giants and Patriots.
Still, I wonder what opportunities were lost when Paul Tagliabue stepped down as NFL commissioner in 2006. Tagliabue introduced gay sensitivity training to rookie symposiums. His son, Andrew, is gay and works for PFLAG; I just wonder how much more would have been done, and how much more willing to talk about the issues the NFL may be, if Goodell hadn't come into the picture.