Mark Zinno: NFL Not Prepared For Coming Out Party
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The NFL is headed for a huge dilemma. In fact it’s a ticking time bomb. They NFL has been put on notice of what’s ahead. They have time to plan. They have time to be proactive. They have time to avoid the pitfalls of this inevitable situation. And here in Baltimore, we have one of our own championing the cause of what is the NFL’s biggest unspoken fear – and that’s a gay player in an NFL locker room.
Now I’m not here to talk about whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m not going to take sides on whether or not I agree or disagree with a player coming out, because honestly, I could care less. It’s none of my business, it doesn’t affect me and it won’t affect how I view the player or the team he plays for. I’m not that guy.
It’s been talked about throughout last season, through the Super Bowl, into the NFL combine and now this off-season. And I wonder if the NFL has taken notice. If you ask me they haven’t, and shame on them for not. Here’s how I know they haven’t begun to scratch the surface of this issue. Chris Culliver got off scot-free after his remarks at the Super Bowl on Media Day. If you look at other professional sports, when people have made bigoted-type remarks, the leagues have come down on them. When former Reds owner Marge Schott made racist and anti-Semitic remarks, Major League Baseball suspended her for an entire year in 1993. When Kobe Bryant used a gay slur on the sidelines of an NBA game, the league fined him $100,000. So when Chris Culliver stuck his foot in his mouth about having a gay teammate in the NFL, the largest, most watched sport in America, what did Roger Goodell and the NFL do? Nothing. No suspension. No fine. No statement even distancing themselves from the player or the comments.
Shame on the NFL. And it just says that they aren’t ready as a league, to deal with this issue. But they better get ready soon. And they better. Because a gay player is coming out sooner rather than later and for a league that holds itself up higher than others, it can be a disgraceful fall and a permanent black eye for the NFL.
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