Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III says he would support an openly gay teammate. The Heisman Trophy winner and rookie football phenom is the most high-profile of the dozen players expressing similar sentiments in a new article at OUTSPORTS.
Many of the players credit President Obama's historic announcement supporting equal marriage and the growing conversation on gays in hip-hop, entertainment and religion. The comments are especially notable coming from football players because the sport has historically been perceived as a bastion of homophobia.
While everyone we spoke with had some personal connection to the LGBT community, only one athlete said he had a teammate who had come out of the closet. The smile of Robert Griffin III, the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft, lit up the red carpet at the NFLPA’s Saturday Night Lights event in Hollywood. Known for his colorful socks, Griffin unknowingly chose a fitting pair – colored pink and purple – for his short, unexpected interview with Outsports.
Griffin remembered a high school teammate who had come out to his team in Copperas Cove, Texas. While Griffin said he has gay friends and wouldn’t care if a player came out on his new Washington Redskins team, he remembered a sad ending to the football career of his gay former teammate.
"When he came out, he stopped playing,” Griffin said. "He might have stopped playing because of the negative feedback he might have gotten from being that on the football team. So, I think that’s probably why he ended up quitting." It was from that out player that Griffin learned a gay teammate poses no threat. "Just because they’re gay doesn’t mean they’re hitting on you," he said.
RG3 was the Number 2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The former Baylor University quarterback ran the fastest 40-yard dash by a quarterback with an official time of 4.41. Griffin joins a growing number of footballers speaking for gay rights, including Michael Irvin, Michael Strahan, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Donte' Stallworth and Will Demps.
Props to Outsports Editor Cyd Zeigler. Read it HERE.
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