clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Oregon coach on gay football player: 'I don't think we would even bat an eye'

New, 3 comments

Mark Helfrich's remarks show a changing attitude in college sports.

Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich celebrates Rose Bowl win over Florida State.
Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich celebrates Rose Bowl win over Florida State.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The college football championship matchup of Ohio State vs. Oregon features two schools with sterling records of support for their LGBT students. We previously discussed Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's apology over a practice shirt that offended gay campus groups. His counterpart, Oregon's Mark Helfrich, wonders what all the fuss is about openly gay players.

When Arizona State's Chip Sarafin came out publicly as gay this summer, the Oregonian asked Helfrich how a gay player would be treated by the Ducks:

"I don't think we would even bat an eye. ..."Football is the ultimate meritocracy. If a person is a teammate, it doesn't matter where they're from, what color they are, their sexual orientation. ... I think we're going to look back on this [in the future] ... going, 'What were all these people thinking?' "

Along with similar comments by Alabama's Nick Saban, we have three of the four coaches of football's Final Four voicing support for LGBT people. It wasn't too long ago that coaches would shy away from addressing the issue of gay players, so this is another sign that things have really changed. Now all we need are more gay players to come out publicly.