Being Gay is Nothing New in the NFL

The topic of gay athletes at the college and professional level has been talked about by almost any and every fan, analyst, coach and player. It may seem like a redundant topic since so many people have different views and concerns but a new NFL spokesperson is coming out in support of homosexuality in the league.

Former cornerback Troy Vincent is doing what he can to build a foundation of respect and acceptance around the subject. He thoroughly supports people who are gay and in his experience, being gay in the locker room in nothing new and it has never been an issue.

So, he’s saying that there have been players in the past who have been openly gay and we are just now being faced with the topic?

According to the Palm Beach Post, Vincent says that in his career, he’s known at least six openly gay football players. He wouldn’t share their names but he played for fifteen years and he said there were never problems in the locker room because of it.

Vincent has recently been hired as Executive Vice President of Football Operations and he plans to become a voice of reason and respect when discussing homosexuality in sports. He even takes his encouraging words to Twitter.

Vincent was drafted by the Miami Dolphins 22 years ago and he said that it didn’t take long for him to be introduced to gay players in the locker room. Even in Washington, he had gay teammates. Now that being gay has become a hot topic, Vincent says he really just wants to focus on the core of the sport and not worry about athletes’ social and personal preferences.

What’s interesting to me is that Michael Sam is being called “the NFL’s first openly gay player” but that is not true at all. The league has seen many gay players over the years. So why is it such a big deal now?

The locker room culture has been a huge concern for many and the recent dilemmas with the Dolphins is a huge reason why. When Incognito was suspended for bullying, it raised a red flag in the minds of gay supporters. Will teammates bully a player who is a homosexual? It’s a fair question but that is why Vincent wants to focus on the positive.

Vincent says that his most memorable experiences occurred in the locker room. He had sincere conversations with coaches and players there and he expects the same to happen with Michael Sam and any other gay player that suits up.

As an athlete, you adapt. You change to fit the situation you’re in and that is exactly what professional, respectable athletes should do when they are faced with a situation that seems out of the norm.

Vincent even said it himself.

“…that’s what we do. We make adjustments from Sunday to Sunday.”

So, does Michael Sam really have anything to worry about?