Editor's note: Story from Sept. 22, 2002
There are presently no openly gay players in the NFL. New York Giants rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey hopes it stays that way.
In a Sept. 10 interview on The Howard Stern radio show, Shockey was asked on-air by producer Gary Del 'Abate if he thought there were any gay players in the NFL.
"I don't know, I don't like to think about that. I hope not," Shockey said.
When asked if he ever dealt with any gay teammates on his college football team, Shockey gave a somewhat confusing answer:
"No, I mean, if I knew there was a gay guy on my college football team, I probably wouldn't, you know, stand for it."
Stern's sidekick Robin Quivers replied: " How could you not stand for it? What do you mean?"
Shockey said, "You know, I think, you know, they're going to be in the shower with us and stuff, so I don't think that's gonna work. That's not gonna work, you know?"
Though the show aired Sept. 10, Outsports was only able to acquire a tape of the broadcast this week. Both the Giants and Shockey's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, refused to let Outsports speak with Shockey. However, in a message relayed from the player through the Giants, Shockey said, "Listen, it's Howard Stern ... He was trying to be funny ... I was trying to be funny." However, neither Stern nor his associates seemed to be laughing along with Shockey's comments.
When asked what was funny about Shockey's remarks, Rosenhaus would not comment. The Giants failed to answer specific questions about Shockey's comments and released a statement through a spokesman that said, "Jeremy was speaking as an individual, not as a representative of the Giants organization."
Shockey, 22 and a first-round draft pick, has had a big impact in his rookie season. The 6-5, 255-pounder from the University of Miami and raised in a small town in Oklahoma, has seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Giants' first two games and has quickly established himself as a favorite target of quarterback Kerry Collins.
Shockey is the latest pro athlete to publicly make anti-gay comments. The list in the past year include major league pitchers Julian Tavarez and John Rocker, NBA players Allen Iverson and Jason Williams and 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS FOLLOW-UP
Jeremy Shockey made the following comments about his Howard Stern appearance in a Sept. 27 story by Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News:
"It's a show just for comedy," Shockey told the Daily News. "I guess I do regret saying it. I didn't think anyone was going to make a big deal out of it. I'm not prejudiced against anybody's beliefs or what they do in their off time. I do regret saying something like that. Whatever I did to offend people, I apologize. I'm not prejudiced in any way."
The Giants weren't happy with Shockey's decision to appear on Stern's show in the first place, and they distanced themselves from his comments yesterday. "Those views don't represent the views of our organization," Pat Hanlon, the Giants VP of communications said. And while Hanlon agreed with [Outsports' Cyd] Zeigler that "it wasn't funny," he added he believes Shockey is "genuinely sorry" for what he said.
"I think the whole subject matter caught him off guard," Hanlon said. "There's no question Jeremy is genuinely sorry he said anything that can be construed as hurtful to anyone else. That was not his intent. And if Jeremy Shockey tells me it was a poor attempt at humor, I believe him. He's the only one that knows what's going on in his head.
"But let's put his comments in perspective. It's Howard Stern. It's not '60 Minutes.' It's not a forum for the sociological issues of our time."
Added Shockey: "The show is at 7:30 in the morning and it's just to entertain people that just wake up. I definitely wouldn't say anything like that on a more serious show, like '2-0/20.' So I guess you could say it was a mistake on my part and I'm not prejudiced against anybody's beliefs. It's Howard Stern. He sets you up in bad situations. I'll know next time."