Ryan O’Callaghan, the former NFL offensive tackle who came out publicly as gay on Outsports earlier this week, has now said on at least three occasions that he believes NFL teams are “ready” for a gay athlete.
We already know of many gay football players who are fully accepted by their teams in high school and college, including My-King Johnson in Arizona, Wyatt Pertuset in Ohio, Austin Hodges in Texas, Brenden Moon in Iowa and both Kyle Kurdziolek and Darrion McAlister in Illinois.
Appearing on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now on Wednesday, O’Callaghan said he believes a gay athlete would be accepted by his NFL teammates.
“Today I think an openly gay player, it would work out quite well,” O’Callaghan said. “There are enough guys in each locker room to rally around someone, make him feel accepted. As long as they are a good player, a good teammate, good in the locker room, I think guys would welcome him with open arms.”
O’Callaghan had previously talked with SB Nation about this very topic, letting non-gay athletes know their gay teammates aren’t looking for anything more than camaraderie and a place on the team.
“I think teams are ready,” he told SB Nation. “Guys just have to understand, he's gay. That doesn't mean he wants to date you. He just wants to be your teammate. It's not a big deal. It's really not.
We know that at least one NFL locker room has in fact accepted a gay athlete. The St. Louis Rams, by all accounts, had no issue with Michael Sam in the locker room throughout the 2014 training camp and preseason. He was also accepted in the Univ. of Missouri locker room.
Visiting with Dan Patrick via phone on Wednesday, O’Callaghan again said he thinks a gay athlete would be OK in the NFL.
“I’m pretty positive now teams would accept a ay player,” he said while admitting he’s not sure if that was the case eight to 10 years ago. “There are enough guys in every locker room who truly understand and know that it’s not a choice. In society as a whole, it’s OK.
“I think there are enough guys who would rally around [him]. I think there are some who would even go out of their way to make someone feel accepted.”
Yes there are.