NEW YORK (CBS SPORTS) – Jason Collins’ decision to come out of the closet is a huge deal. Collins, despite being an NBA free agent, is the first active player in any major North American sport to be openly gay. It’s not illogical to believe that the NFL and MLB are next in line to accept an openly gay player.
However, former Steelers wideout Hines Ward doesn’t think that “football is ready” for an openly gay player just yet. “I don’t think football is ready. There’s too many guys in the locker room and, you know, guys play around too much,” Ward said on NBC Sports Radio.
Ward obviously has intimate knowledge of NFL locker rooms, having spent 14 seasons with the Steelers.
“I don’t have anything against a gay football player or a gay person period. So if he does, he has support from me. I want people to live their lives for who they are and don’t have to hide behind closed doors to do that,” Ward added.
There are many reasons why there isn’t an openly-gay player in the NFL right now. But Collins’ decision shows how far the world of sports has come. At some point, there will be an openly-gay player in the NFL. It’s not a matter of if but when.
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