Openly gay Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas was recently profiled on HBO's Real Sports. Thomas has been welcomed by the rugby union and has even engaged in a Twitter bromance with rugby hotness Nick Youngquest. "Unfortunately" that could not happen "right now" in the hyper masculine locker rooms of pro-football, former NFL defensive lineman and current ESPN football analyst Marcellus Wiley says in a refreshingly candid interview at The Huffington Post.
It would really be tough for a gay guy in the NFL, for the locker room to understand him as a homosexual -- I'm not saying it's impossible to pull off, but I'm saying right now the fear of coming out of the closet and more so coming out in the locker room would really be too tremendous to overcome.
While playing for the Buffalo Bills, Wiley was a teammate of Esera Tuaolo, who later came out of the closet. Wiley says teammates "suspected" Tuaolo was gay and sometimes joked about it. "It's unfortunate because it shouldn't be that way," Wiley said.
I understand that the locker room is pretty intimate. I do understand that there are 53 guys walking around nude at times and I do understand how guys may feel uncomfortable, but I don't think that it should impair someone's decision to live their life, have their freedoms and express themselves. I don't know whether that will be five, ten or twenty years from now but right now the NFL culture has no tolerance toward it.
Marcellus was born in Compton and later graduated with top honors from Columbia University. Wiley says living in New York City taught him to respect and tolerate diversity.