In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis expressed concern over how it would be perceived if publicly gay NFL draft prospect Michael Sam were to pat a teammate on the butt.
If he pats somebody on the butt — I hope ESPN don’t get mad and never have me back — but if he pats somebody on the butt, how is that to be received? If he does that how is that to be received? If he said, ‘Come on baby’? I called guys baby all the time on the football field, but when you have taken a stand and went and go public and say that, ‘I am gay,’ how is that going to be received? I’ve seen guys, I had guys on the Dallas Cowboys football team — I won’t mention names — who did not want you to pat them on their butt. So God forbid if you pat one of those guys on the butt, it’s going to be a major problem it’s going to be a major problem.
What Ellis fails to either realize or doesn’t care to admit is that the NFL is a microcosm of society and there have been and will continue to be gay players in the NFL. Ellis also indicated he would be uncomfortable with having a gay player in the locker room at all:
I would. I would. People who’ve never been in an NFL shower room, not just locker room, it’s a open room. We don’t have private curtains. It’s just an open-form shower, so everybody sees each in the nude. Well if you’re looking at men as if you’re looking at women or vice versa, how are those guys to receive that? I don’t know. I don’t know how they will receive that. But I do know it would be a situation where I would go to the coach and try to work something out to say, ‘Obviously this is going to be a problem. What can we do? The kid can help us play, can help us win football games. We need him on the team. But this situation right here, we need to do something.
News flash for Ellis: there is nothing that anyone needs to do. When the military changed their policy for allowing gay members in, the message was clear: there will be no separate bunking or separate showers for straight and gay personnel. Since the integration, the military has soldiered on without missing a beat and people who express the “concerns” Ellis seems to harbor have been swiftly dealt with. The reality is that a gay player should not be treated any different from the rest of the NFL; if he deserves a pat on the butt, give him one. And vice versa.
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