Ever since NFL prospect Michael Sam came out of the closet, both current and retired football players have lent their support to the newly out athlete. There have also been a few bigoted holdouts, but at least they’ve been called out by their peers.
In an interview on Huffington Post Live, openly gay NFL veteran Esera Tuaolo talked about how things have changed since he played and what Sam can expect during his tenure.
[Screengrab via Huffington Post]
“Back then, someone would lash out and call someone a fag or a queer or anything; it was like a joke, and people would join in,” said Esera, when asked about homophobic language in the sport. “Now, in the last 10 years, you have guys that are lashing out like that, and coaches, they’re held accountable for their actions and for their words.”
When asked about Sam’s chances of being drafted after coming out, Tuaolo remained optimistic, even suggesting that being out of the closet could be a boon to his game.
“Have you seen his highlight film? Give him a chance,” Tuaolo said. “If I hadn’t played with all that stress [of being in the closet] it would have been a different story . . . It was so hard being in a masculine environment, where the worst thing you could ever say or do to anyone is to call them a fag, to out him or to start a rumour about him. That’s what we had to deal with. Imagine if we didn’t have to do that?”