ORLANDO, Fla. — I had a great time asking NFL players at the Pro Bowl their views on LGBT issues in general and having a gay teammate in particular. I found 14 players who were supportive of gays in the NFL. No one I spoke with was opposed, though one player was baffled by my question.
I approached Darren Sproles, the dynamic running back and return man for the Philadelphia Eagles, and we had the following exchange.
Me: How do you think the NFL handles LGBT issues in the game and how can they improve their relationship with the LGBT community?
Sproles: The what now?
Me: How can they improve relations with the LGBT community? How can the NFL players improve relationships with the LGBT community? How can they become more knowledgeable about LGBT issues?
Sproles: I don't know. I don't know nothing.
Me: Sorry, I know, it's a tough question.
Sproles: Yeah, I don't know.
Me: Is there talk about LGBT issues in the locker room? Social issues this year were obviously a big issue.
Sproles: What are you saying? What does that stand for?
Me: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.
Sproles: Oh [pause] I don't know [laughs].
Me: It's all good. I appreciate it.
Sproles was definitely friendly to me so I don’t necessarily chalk him up as a negative, but I would have thought at some point he would have heard “LGBT” somewhere. Then again, Travis Kelce of the Chiefs said he had not heard of the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Raiders’ Marquette King said he doesn’t pay attention to the news and watches cartoons instead, so maybe a lot of athletes are in a bubble