In Feburary 2013, soccer player Robbie Rogers came out as gay and announced his retirement from the sport. Over the year, soccer fans, players, and coaches showed their support of Rogers. After some thinking, Rogers made a comeback, was traded to LA Galaxy and made history on national television three months after coming out. Soccer fans showed the nation and Rogers that they still root for him regardless of his sexuality. This is something NFL fans, players, and coaches alike can learn.
While people will argue for days and nights about gay marriage and rights, one thing is for sure: sexuality does not define your success in sports. A player’s success in sports is based of his work ethic, natural skill, practice, and chemistry with the fellow teammates. For example, QB Aaron Rodgers won’t stop being a high caliber player if he comes out as gay. For the record, Rodgers squashed rumors that he was gay, but that’s beside the point. If he was gay, his teammates, coaches, and fans should still respect and appreciate him for all his success on the field.
No matter who becomes the first NFL player to come out as gay, players, coaches and fans need to show respect towards the player. It takes courage, trust, and vulnerability to show your true colors and self. The last thing someone needs when coming out is rude, disrespectful remarks.
From soccer’s example, tolerance and acceptance won over bullying and rude comments. Who cares if an athlete is gay? If a player is one of the best and can lead the team to success, coaches should be signing him. Sports is about winning and having the best team possible not about excluding people due to their skin color, sexuality or any other reason.
When a player comes out there will need to be an understanding and trust built between teammates. A player’s sexuality should not prevent team chemistry from developing and continuing throughout a season.
All in all, it is only a matter of time before an NFL player comes out. As a result, NFL fans, players, and others can learn from soccer’s example of cheering and respecting the player despite their sexuality. After all, sexuality has nothing to do with how a player plays and succeeds in the league.
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