Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/29/13
NBA center Jason Collins made headlines around the world today, becoming the first active sports player in a major American team sport to come out as a homosexual.While I applaud Collins' initiative to get the ball rolling on what seems to be an inevitable trend getting ready to come down on every major sport, I feel as though a player coming out won't be as effective or newsworthy until said player is already on a current roster. Now that the proverbial ball has begun to roll, the question has to be asked. How far are we from the NFL's first actively gay player?The answer isn't that simple.Before I continue, let me make something clear. I have an older sister who's openly gay and she means the world to me. I never for one second was against her lifestyle and will remain that way for the rest of my days. I treat every situation, as controversially as some of them are, with the same "treat others as you'd like to be treated" attitude that I was raised on. My point isn't to push my beliefs through this article, but rather suggest that those who disagree with Collins' life choice take the sometimes not so popular "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all" route as opposed to bashing him, whether they realize they're doing it or not. While Collins' decision to come out was widely accepted by most, there were some individuals who couldn't come to terms with such a bold decision. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace was one of them, who took to Twitter shortly after Collins' announcement:“All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys SMH (shakin' my head) …”He later backtracked on his comments:"Never said anything was right or wrong I just said I don't understand!! Deeply sorry for anyone that I offended."San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver also made the waves during Super Bowl media week when he spoke about ex-49er Kwame Harris's domestic dispute arrest that involved a former boyfriend to radio personality Artie Lange:"We ain't got no gay people on the team," Culliver told Lange. "They gotta get up out here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. ... Nah, can't be ... in the locker room, man."Culliver was also quoted in saying that retired players should wait "10 years" after they retire before revealing their sexual orientation. Comments like these could very well keep players in the proverbial closet and even more disappointing, off of an NFL team. Middle Tennessee kicker Alan Gendreau, who revealed his homosexuality before the draft, went undrafted and has yet to get a call from any team. But even if he was ultimately offered a contract, would he be accepted by his peers in the locker room? This controversial issue arguably has the biggest effect on the NFL because of a football team's loaded roster.Former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo stated that as many as four NFL players could come out at the same time to express unity and make an impact together. This hypothetical scenario coming to fruition would most likely cause the internet and social media to explode in unison.In conclusion, we may or may not be too far from the first active gay NFL player. In one of my favorite movies, "Remember the Titans", Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) said:I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe... I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men.While Washington was referring to the game of football in his speech, I'm referring to the game of life. When you play the game of life with respect, everyone's a winner, and there are no losers. **However you feel about this controversial issue, I'd like to hear it your opinions. Please comment respectfully below.**
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