We love Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports and have for years. The Big Sexy even appeared on our podcast a couple years ago to talk about racial and gay slurs. So it was great to see him today talk about Roger Goodell's failure to properly address the issue of gay athletes. The column comes from Mike Florio's revelation that NFL teams want to know if Manti Te'o is gay. Whitlock writes:
Whatever the case, difficult questions must be asked, and they should come from the commissioner’s chair. It’s Goodell’s job to protect The Shield. It’s Goodell’s job to protect the employees.
The best protection for the league and the players is the freeing of the gays.
Let’s be honest. I think it’s reasonable to assume that 15 percent of NFL players are gay and/or bisexual. Generally speaking, they’re forced to conceal their sexuality out of fear of being ostracized and potentially released from the team.
They need to be set free, released from the grip of the most hostile work environment in America. Is there a more homophobic work setting than a football locker room? I can’t think of one.
One little note: Technically, players are not employees of the NFL, they are employees of the teams. Requests to the NFL for comment at times have eluded to that. The NFL invokes that at times (e.g., on this issue) while at other times taking direct action against athletes (e.g., suspending players).
The Last Closet has been trying for a year to secure an interview with Goodell on the issue. At the core of what they're looking to ask him: Would you support an NFL athlete coming out of the closet publicly? It's really not a tough question to answer. Other groups are working with the NFL and other leagues to open more dialogue at various levels.
And before you discredit the 15% number, recognize Whitlock said gay and bisexual. I think the number isn't far off. If 3% is gay, another 12% could absolutely be bisexual. I've said for years the number of people who are bi is far larger than the number who are gay.