AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
NFL Needs to Grow Up Now
This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, February 17, 2014
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
became big news recently when a highly-ranked college football player who would
normally be selected in the first few rounds of the upcoming National Football
League draft announced he was gay.The
real question is – why was it such a big deal?
Sam will not be the first gay player in the NFL.He could become the first openly gay player,
which is really what the alleged story is here.And all across America, players and fans and observers of the game are
asking:Is the NFL ready for an openly
answer is the league had better get ready.It has no business trying to keep gay players off its fields and out of
its locker rooms, any more than it can keep certain religions or races from its
ranks.The real issue is not whether the
NFL is ready for gay players, but rather just how long it can continue to get
away with being judged differently than the rest of America in this regard.
you imagine a story breaking in the national press that a major accounting firm
was about to hire the first openly gay CPA?Or perhaps that the Associated Press was considering the hiring of an
openly gay editor?People would be
outraged that the sexual preference of any potential employee was even an issue,
since it in no way affects their ability to do their job.
the NFL (and other major sports leagues) have apologists who point to how
different the leagues are from other institutions.We are somehow supposed to believe that an
NFL locker room is such a bastion of male hormonal behavior that the mere
existence of an openly homosexual player would wreak havoc and cause serious
harm to the franchises that rely on the public for their very survival.
macho crap is enough to make even a diehard sports fan like me throw up.Spare me this indignant righteousness when it
comes to protecting the good name of heterosexuality as it pertains to the
athletic men who compete in the NFL.They are in the workplace just like the rest of us, although their job
is certainly more physically demanding than most.They don’t get to make their own rules
concerning the society in which they live, and it is high time they understood
have heard it said the NFL locker room is a place where homophobic references
are commonplace, and forcing political correctness would change both the
players and the game.To which I reply –
good, it’s about time.
me this talk of “a brotherhood” as one NFL player put it.The “tight-knit” teams will be torn asunder because
they can’t crack gay jokes and humiliate their new co-workers.
just doubletalk and excuses to try and allow these young millionaires to
continue to avoid growing up.They are
supposed to concentrate totally on winning games and championships, so we
somehow exempt them from being real and decent people at the same time.That’s wrong and unacceptable.
locker rooms have been known to accept convicted criminals, regular drug users,
and even sex offenders.Somehow they
manage to fit in to the “culture” of the league.The idea that a gay teammate might somehow
throw the entire franchise into disarray by doing nothing but being himself is
NFL experts say it will be the “distraction” an openly gay player will bring
that will be the problem.They also
worry about those players of faith who will find it difficult to accept a
teammate living a lifestyle they consider a sin.
a gay player will only be as much a distraction as the league and the teams
allow it to be.Patriots Coach Bill
Belichick is the poster boy for how to avoid distractions.The rest of the league should watch and
religion is a personal matter – much like sexual preference.You don’t have to like or accept that of anyone
else.But yours does not override theirs
make no more excuses for bad behavior by football executives and players.Let’s start holding them to reasonable
standards of behavior.Let’s make that a
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at