This past year, the world watched with everything from pride to joy to fear as many of the sports world’s athletes came strolling out of the closet and claimed their sexuality publicly. But despite the leaps and bounds of progress that were made in kicking down the closet door for LGBT athletes, the world still has yet to see an active NFL player come out as gay, bi or trans. But some former members of the Houston Oilers, now known as the Tennessee Titans, have now claimed that a few players on the team were openly gay to them.
In a new report from the Houston Chronicle, former Oilers players claim that two key players from the 1993 roster were gay and that all of their teammates knew about it and embraced them.
“Listen, those guys that we’re talking about were unbelievable teammates. And if you wanted to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys,” said Pro Bowl linebacker Lamar Lathon. “And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that things were not exactly right. But guess what? When they strapped the pads on and got on the field, man, we were going to war with these guys because they were unbelievable.”
Although the Oilers had a reputation for being the most dysfunctional team in the NFL, a claim that the former teammates don’t deny, they also claim that the team was inclusive and that having gay teammates wasn’t a big deal for them.
“Everybody knew certain guys were gay,” Bubba McDowell said, adding that showering with his gay teammates in the locker room was “no big deal.”
It’s still unclear who those two gay players were, but had they publicly come out they would’ve broken monumental ground 20 years before Jason Collins stepped up to become the first active player in a major sport to come out of the closet. But despite coming out, Collins is now a free agent and has yet to play since last season. To this day, no player has ever declared being LGBT while playing on a team.
Perhaps with these growing admissions of all of the LGBT players in professional sports, both closeted and open, as well as the growing support for players to come out, one day soon a gay athlete will come out and suit up for a major game and be welcome as much as possible by the world.
Check out some other sports stars who recently came out after the cut. –nicholas robinson