Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 6/12/12

HOUSTON - AUGUST 31: Defensive end Connor Barwin #98 of the Houston Texans goes around guard Artis Hicks #79 of the Minnesota Vikings at Reliant Stadium on August 31, 2009 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Connor Barwin has spoken out. He has dropped the hammer. He has expressed a normal and popular sentiment about homosexuality that feels familiar to all of us. And this is Headline News because Connor Barwin is a football player, one who plays in the NFL, where, you know, me make bang noise. Here's the bomb: Barwin, a linebacker for the Houston Texans, is not gay, but if he were, he doesn't think it would be that big of a deal in the Houston Texans' locker room, or any other in the NFL. "I think right now it would probably be hard for a guy to come out in our locker room just because of the awkwardness," Barwin said. "But I think they would be surprised at how welcoming people would be. I think at the end of the day guys care about how you play football, because we're all so competitive about winning that if there is a guy who comes out as gay in our locker room and he's a good football player, people aren't going to care about that. I think that's the honest truth." Barwin said this in an interview with OutSports.com, a website that explores the intersections of homosexuality and the sports world. The story has quickly been picked up my mainstream media outlets and turned Barwin -- otherwise best known for getting lots of sacks and looking sort of like Cosmo Kramer -- into an inspirational figure of sorts on this issue. Because everybody knows football players are nothing but hulking macho cavemen who stopped maturing in eighth grade, eat nothing but raw mastodon meat and have little capacity for human empathy or nuanced social positions, right? Barwin has a gay brother, so the strength of his perspective on this issue does not lie in its objectivity; he has a stake in this game. And he admits he hasn't had a conversation with a teammate about this particular hypothetical, so he's really just making an assumption. That said, I don't have any reason to doubt what Barwin is saying. He's the one in the locker room every day. So if he says it wouldn't be that big of a deal, I'm inclined to believe him unless another NFL player tells me otherwise, and that seems unlikely. And the main reason it seems unlikely is that I have a hard time believing attitudes toward homosexuality are much different inside an NFL locker room as they are outside one. The issue is controversial, so there are going to be varying opinions, but I think it's fair to say the prevailing attitude toward homosexuality in the United States in 2012, especially among people in their 20s and 30s, is one of acceptance. And I think it is unfair to assume football players are not riding the spinning wheel of American culture with the rest of us. Basically, there is nothing surprising about what Connor Barwin said. The greatest truth he expressed to OutSports.com was that "at the end of the day, guys care about how you play football." Wins and losses are all that ever matter in sports, which is why sports teams have a long history of accepting those society was not ready to accept -- as long as they could play. "It would help a lot if the player was a contributor to the team," Barwin told OutSports.com. "If he was a guy that people didn't like his personality or wasn't helping on the team, I think it would be very hard for him." There are almost 1,700 NFL players at any given moment. Some of them are gay. They have to be. It's probably a lower percentage than the population at large, but even if it's 1 percent, then there is one gay player for every two NFL teams. So far, no player has come out during his career, and Barwin said he has never known a teammate to be gay. But there's a difference between knowing a teammate to be gay and knowing you've had some gay teammates, and NFL players know that. Because, though, they live in the macho hetero football world, they live in the real world, too. "It's amazing how many people know relatives or friends who are gay," Barwin said. "So I think it might not be as hard as some people think."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker