Each week we’ll be taking a look at the NFL teams involved in the Sunday Night Football game and track their record — team, coaches and players — on LGBT issues.
This week, the 3-5 Oakland Raiders travel to Miami to play the 4-3 Dolphins. This game is shaping up to be a dog. The Raiders are the most disappointing team in football, while the Dolphins have been shut out twice and are minus-60 in point differential. Meanwhile, there are a few LGBT angles.
- If a player came out as gay, it’s a safe bet he would be welcome by the Dolphins organization. When Michael Sam came out prior to the 2014 draft, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said he would be “welcomed here with open arms as part of our family.” That’s about as strong a statement as a team could make.
- Dolphins general manager Mike Tannenbaum also said that a gay player would be accepted. "The locker room's made up of a lot of different people and that's part of society now and people have to be mature and accepting of it,” he told Dan Patrick in 2013.
“Some people may [already] be gay but they don't come out and disclose it. There could be more gay players in the NFL than we know right now. But I think the great coaches and the great teams are the ones that can meld [people with different backgrounds] together.”
- A couple of Dolphins players have been publicly supportive of having a gay teammate.
Walt Aikens, defensive back: “I really don’t know if that [being gay] has anything to do with anybody’s ability to play football. If you can play football, you can play football.”
Kenny Stills, wide receiver: "I don't have a problem with it at all, I just feel like, as an American society so much attention is given to that, and it shouldn't be," said about Jason Collins coming out in the NBA in 2013. "OK, he's gay, he likes what he likes. I'm straight, I like what I like. We just keep on moving on. It's a sensitive subject to talk about, but I feel like everybody likes what they like and that's how it is."
- As for the Raiders, I can’t find a current player who has said anything pro or con about having a gay teammate or LGBT issues.
For example, when punter Marquette King was asked at this year’s Pro Bowl in Orlando about the killings at the Pulse gay nightclub there months earlier, he said he doesn’t pay attention to global events and all he watches are cartoons.
- When the Raiders played in Mexico City last year, Mexican Raiders fans chanted a gay slur a half-dozen times against the opponent, the Houston Texans.
Game pick: I have gotten all my SNF picks wrong, so let’s continue the streak. Dolphins 26, Raiders 24.