Jeff Rohrer didn’t think he could come out as gay to his Dallas Cowboys teammates in the 1980s.
Now the former Cowboys linebacker, who came out as gay and married his husband a few years ago, knows his former teammates accept him and his husband for who they are.
Rohrer attended the Cowboys season kickoff — a bit of a reunion of former players — at the team’s home opener earlier this season with his husband, Joshua Ross. In attendance were many NFL and Cowboys legends, including Hall Of Fame players.
Every single person they came in contact with, according to Rohrer, was accepting of him and his husband, many hugging Rohrer.
He had previously brought Ross to the Yale-Harvard game, where they interacted beautifully with Rohrer’s former Bulldogs teammates.
“Everyone at Yale was f***ing amazing,” Rohrer told Outsports. “I was super scared headed to Dallas and how it would go down, but everyone was amazing and great. Everyone was totally accepting.”
It’s a powerful statement for the Cowboys’ only player to play in the regular season and come out. Ross said his experience as the former Cowboy’s husband was very warm.
“It was the first time since getting married that Jeff has attended a Cowboys event,” Ross told Outsports. “Seeing the way he and I were embraced by his teammates and fans at Cowboys stadium was such a beautiful moment in Jeff’s journey of coming out and being embraced by the people that have had such a large impact on his life and on becoming the inspiring man he is today.”
Included in that were some of the greatest players to ever play the sport of football.
“Randy White and Everson Walls were amazing,” Rohrer told Outsports. “Tony Dorsett was amazing. They’re all Hall of Famers. They were all super kind, giving me big hugs, shaking Josh’s hand. It was the first time since getting married that I was back there and brought Josh.
Not knowing what kind of reception we’d get and everything, it’s great to see everything is moving forward for all of us.”
White and Dorsett are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the highest individual accolade for a player in the sport. Walls has been inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Grambling Legends Hall of Fame, among others.
Other former Cowboys have publicly expressed their support for gay rights, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.
It’s powerful to see the NFL club deemed “America’s team” so positively support a gay former player. While perceptions of homophobia in the NFL persist, the current and former players are demonstrating the league is welcoming.