Editor’s Note: This was originally posted in 2014.
Count Alabama Crimson Tide head football coach Nick Saban — he of 10 SEC Championships and seven National Titles — among those who would have no problem with an openly gay player on his team. Speaking at a Pro-Am golf event in Shoal Creek, Ala., Saban said:
"I would expect everybody to be very respectful of what is private for most people and treat that person with dignity and respect and respect them for being a good teammate and being a part of our team and doing the things that require them to be a good person on our team," Saban said. "I can't speak for everybody, but that's what would be my expectation for the people that we control in our organization and on our team."
This is not a surprise even though one does not associate Alabama with progressive views on gay issues. Saban wants to win more than anything, so he would not have any problem with a gay player or maybe even a vegan atheist one as long as the player helped the Tide win. I suspect most Bama fans would be the same way, especially if the gay player was able to chase down an Auburn player and prevent a game-winning touchdown.
Clinton-Dix would later wear an Orlando United shirt under his Green Bay Packers jersey during a game, in solidarity with the Orlando Pulse shooting victims.
At the end of the day, winning trumps everything else for football coaches, players and fans. And inclusion helps.