At the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl's Blogs With Balls event today I chatted a few minutes with Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers. The NFL prospect has a couple claims to fame here on Outsports. For one thing, he is the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He also previously spoke out against a nondiscrimination policy at Vanderbilt in hopes of protecting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
When I stopped him to chat about the potential of having a gay teammate, I wasn't sure where he'd go with his answer. He was awesome. He said it wouldn't matter to him one bit if a teammate of his was gay. In fact, he said he played at one point with a teammate who didn't "identify as straight." He said he wasn't sure if the guy was gay or bisexual, but he said the player did not hide the fact that he was not straight and it was very well-known in the locker room.
"Whether you're gay or straight, you're one of my boys," Rodgers said. "Out on the football field, it doesn't matter if you're gay, it only matters if you perform."
I asked him why football players get such a bad rap about being anti-gay, largely because of their religion. He said he didn't know, but that it just didn't matter to him. He also pointed to a guy like Kurt Warner, who has expressed support for a gay athlete and who is a devout Christian. He said he looks up to Warner because of his brand of inclusive Christianity.
This is awesome to hear, and it continues to confirm what we've been saying for a while now: Professional athletes are overwhelmingly OK with a gay teammate. Even athletes who are devoutly religious can put aside the anti-gay dogma of Christianity and focus on the non-judgmental angles of the religion's doctrine.
Rodgers is ranked by various scouting reports as the 10th to 15th best quarterback in the draft; He's expected to be selected somewhere from the fourth to sixth round in April.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl takes played Saturday, Jan. 19, at 6pmET. You can catch it on ESPN2.