NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a positive prediction for any pro football player who comes out as gay: “I don’t think it will just be tolerated, I think it will be accepted.”
Goodell made the statement Thursday, toward the end of a wide-ranging interview with Steve Wyche of NFL.com. Wyche asked him about pro basketball player Jason Collins’s recent coming-out and how such news would be received in the NFL.
“We’re all different in some fashion, and we’re accepting of our differences,” Goodell continued. “That’s what this is all about. To me, if it happens in the league, that’s a personal choice that someone would decide to do. But I know their teammates and teams, and I think the fans, will all respond the right way.”
Earlier this year, some gay rights advocates, including Jim Buzinski of Outsports.com, had called for Goodell to make a statement on the issue.
In another development relating to gays and the NFL, New York Jets linebacker DeMario Davis said while he considers homosexuality a sin, he’d be accepting of a gay teammate.
“If someone was to come out on our team, we’re a team that’s about winning,” Davis told the New York Daily News this week. “When it comes to the [Jets], I put my personal beliefs separate from the team.”
His personal beliefs aren’t exactly gay-positive. “According to the scriptures, and God’s law, homosexuality is wrong. The act is wrong,” said Davis, a devout Christian. “I’ve got homosexuals in my family who I love to death. I’ve got drunks in my family. I’ve got people who have premarital sex in my family. And I don’t agree with any of those things, but I still love and respect those people.”
Asked by the Daily News for comment, Buzinski said he considered Davis’s religious views “irrelevant,” adding, “I would judge him literally on how he treated a teammate.” Davis’s statement of acceptance is perhaps “a small victory,” Buzinski said.