The NFL just can’t turn the corner on its homophobia. This week NFL prospect Nick Kasa was asked by a scout for an NFL team whether he liked girls, or if he was married with a family. The NFL is not supposed to ask these questions but somehow the word didn’t get out, again.
Predictably, there are plenty of blockhead supporters out there who believe these are fair questions. In their mind, Kasa is costing himself money by complaining publicly about the questions (good for him). For them, it’s acceptable to weed out anyone who doesn’t continue propping up the ugly and outdate anti-gay bigotry that still permeates so much of professional sports, and especially the NFL of late.
It was only a few weeks ago that NFL was addressing its most recent flare-up of homophobia, but little seems to have changed. In the lead up to the Super Bowl, Chris Culliver of the San Francisco 49ers used media day as an opportunity to tell gay football players to get out of the NFL. While he eventually apologized, the NFL, nor the 49ers, did much of anything to address the situation. Though the 49ers were happy to suspend a player the month before for dissing the coaches. So just to-recap: Gay-bashing okay, coach-bashing, not so much.
Before that, another NFL player defended his right to use the word f*ggot.
And now we have NFL teams asking players if they like girls.
One of these days the NFL is going to have to take a stand and stop letting the bigots get away with this behavior. Maybe some older fans have no problem with bigots, but it’s no longer acceptable for a growing number of younger Americans.
Besides being against league rules, it’s just plain wrong. But as long as the NFL keeps allowing this problem to continue, and only paying lip service to doing anything about it, it won’t get better, and the reputation of professional sports in this country will continue to sink.
Fortunately, there is hope. Players like the Baltimore Ravens’ Brendon Ayanbadejo, and the Minnesota Vikings’ Chris Kluwe, have been amazingly outspoken in defense of gay rights generally, and their closeted gay teammates in the NFL. The NFL could learn something from these two players.