Sexuality and openly gay athletes have made headlines in the last month or so. Robbie Rogers returned to soccer after coming out, Britteny Griner opened up and so did Jason Collins. In all three cases, there has been support from both players and fans. However, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arinas spoke before his annual golf charity outing and he thinks football fans, not NFL players, would have the issue with an openly gay football player.
First off, I do not think the fans are preventing any players, let alone NFL players, from coming out. Fans sure can be opinionated, but they care more about the player’s production and contribution to the team’s success and not about their sexuality.
Secondly, it seems like Arians has been under a rock and missed the support Rogers, Griner and Collins all received after they came out. Among those who supported them, the fans were among those offering support. It took a lot of courage for them to come out publicly, but they were affirmed rather than bashed and bullied.
If we learn anything from these cases, it is that society has become more tolerant and accepting. I don’t see any evidence to back up Arians view that the fans would be the reason why there is not an openly gay NFL athlete. It comes down to being accepted among teammates in the locker room. While I cannot say for sure that NFL players would have an issue with it, I could probably make an educated guess that most NFL players wouldn’t care. Like fans, they care how their teammates contribute to the team succeeding.
Arians view is very provincial and has no real backing or evidence. It is a personal opinion that myself and probably many others will not agree with. Sports fans have showed their support and acceptance of the LGBTQ world and I do not see NFL fans being any different.