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NFL player Jonathan Vilma afraid to shower with gay teammates

Jonathan Vilma - Cover

Gay players in sports has been a hot topic in the public for the past year and many heterosexual athletes have given their take on what it would mean to have a gay player as a teammate. Recently, the NFL Network sat down for an interview with players from both past and present to discuss the locker room culture and how gay players would fit in with the teammates and Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans saints let it be known that he’s afraid of taking showers with a gay man.

Andrea Kremer, the NFL’s chief correspondent for player health and safety, sat down with the players to discuss gays in the locker room and claimed that a situation such as that would “test the limits of tolerance” for heterosexual players.

“There’s such a stigma with gay and homosexuals within male sports,” said London Fletcher, Washington Redskins linebacker, acknowledging the sports homophobic atmosphere. “It would be very difficult for that first person to come out.”

And that point was ironically and painfully made clear when Vilma commented on his fear of showering with gay men.

“I think that he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted,” Vilma added. “I don’t want people to just naturally assume, like, ‘Oh, we’re all homophobic.’ That’s really not the case. Imagine if he’s the guy next to me and, you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me. How am I supposed to respond?”

However, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ike Taylor said that the sexuality of his teammates is of no concern to him. Instead, maintaining solidarity is the only thing he’s worried about.

“Regardless of who it is, straight or gay,” Taylor said, “if he’s on this team, he’s a teammate of mine.”

Although it doesn’t seem like Vilma intended any malice or offense in his comment, it’s also clear that he’s unaware that his words speak to the ignorance and lack of knowledge he has about gay people. For one, it’s a very self-centered and presumptuous mindset to think that another man would automatically look at him sexually in any setting. It’s also unfortunate that, if such a shower scenario did occur, Vilma wouldn’t think to handle the situation with calmness or humor, such as by making a joke to lighten the mood or just brushing it off.

Sadly, Vilma’s not the only one in sports with a closed-minded and dated view of the LGBT community. Check out some other homophobic comments made by athletes below. – nicholas robinson

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2 Comments

  1. Phillip79 on February 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Women and men don’t shower together at gyms. He didn’t say anything wrong. Chances are the gay teammate isn’t sexually looking him up and down but we have to respect players feelings when it comes to their bodies. It’s not discrimination. Put stalls in every locker room. Give people privacy to choose who they are naked around and then nobody should care who anyone else has sex with on their own time.

  2. Wendy Whitehead on February 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    okay apparently people and players alike don’t realize just how many gay players there actually are. they are afraid to come out because of this same reason here. and what is wrong with people just because he is gay doesn’t mean he is going to be checking him out. he might not even be his type. just because he is gay doesn’t mean he is going to
    run around grabbing on people’s junk and stuff. he is still the same man he was before…his teammate. this whole thing is ridiculous. apparently someone seems to have forgotten the days when he wouldn’t have even been allowed to play much less shower or eat along with a white man. stop being a little girl and man up.