Here in America, our football culture is a macho one and, stereotypically, our gay culture is not. And that's why it would be so crucial to not only the world of professional sports but also — and more importantly — to the LGBT community if an active NFL player were to finally come out and make his sexual orientation public.
An encouraging sign from Michael Freeman of CBSSports.com:
Based on interviews over the past several weeks with current and former players, I'm told that a current gay NFL player is strongly considering coming out publicly within the next few months — and after doing so, the player would attempt to continue his career.
Whether or not that one development would result in a snowball effect, it would be tremendously encouraging. This is something that was considered unfathomable not long ago, and it could very well serve as a springboard for many other homosexual men (or women) to share such secrets in the short- and long-term future.
A new wall could eventually come down. The unnamed pioneer Freeman is referring to could be the man to take down the first load-bearing cinder block.
They'll deserve to be commended for making such a daring move. Even if they can gain a lot and maybe lose only a little from such an announcement, it requires a lot of guts. Let's keep in mind that nobody — gay or straight — should feel pressure to have to discuss their sexual orientation with anybody else, let alone the national media. That's why this is both frustrating and inspiring.
You hope it'll nudge more players to decide to expose their sexual orientation, but at the same time it's disturbing that anyone in 2013 feels pressure to do so.
These things are tough to track and gauge, but studies have found that between 1.5 and 5 percent of the United States population is gay. If that's the case and the NFL is in step, that would mean that at least 30 pro football players are gay. In reality, there are probably homosexual men in every locker room in the National Football League. We don't need those guys to tell us they're gay any more than we need the straight men to tell us they're straight, but it would be nice to reach a point at which there'd be no fear of openly doing so.
And if or when that day arrives, it'll represent progress in multiple realms.