Houston (CBS Houston) – Since NFL draft prospect Michael Sam announced he’s gay, there has been rampant speculation about the NFL’s readiness. But is it possible that NFL players don’t get enough credit? Houston Texans center Chris Myers thinks the league is more than ready for its first openly gay player.
“It should have been accepted a long time ago,” Myers told SportsRadio 610. “I think the NFL has been ready for it.”
The two-time pro bowler had nothing but high praise for Sam, recognizing that it’s never easy to break down barriers.
“I’m happy for him, that he had (the) guts to be brave enough to be the first openly gay player. And I think that speaks volumes about his character and his strength,” Myers said. “I give him all the credit in the world for being able to do this because it takes a lot of strength.”
Myers said he thinks Sam’s announcement will make things easier on other players who may be concerned about coming out.
“For him to be able to come out publicly right now, is great. I think it’s going to make strides for any other individuals who have been nervous or have had issues in the past.”
The NFL is often portrayed as a ‘macho man’s sport’ and a lot is made about the harsh environment of the NFL locker room. But Myers thinks those stereotypes have been unfairly tossed on the NFL and its players.
“The media thinks it’s one way – society and fans think it’s one way – that (NFL players) are going to think negatively upon an individual for being homosexual and that’s just not the way it is.” Myers said. “Will there be negative feedback? Unfortunately, yes. That’s just the way society is. I think it’s a direct effect of media and the shading of a picture of how NFL locker rooms are portrayed.”
Myers has played ten seasons in the NFL, meaning he’s been a part of ten different NFL locker rooms. He thinks a gay player would have been accepted in all of them.
“I don’t think it would have been a negative thing on any of the teams I’ve been on.” Myers said.
There have been plenty of anonymous quotes from front office personnel, quotes that foresee a tough road ahead for Michael Sam.
“For it to be anonymous, I think, to a certain extent is cowardly.” Myers said. “If you are confident enough in your beliefs, you (should) be able to speak on them no matter what.”
The guy that lines up next to Myers on the Texans offensive line, Wade Smith, told CSN Houston he thinks Sam will be accepted too.
“I think for the most part, he’s going to be accepted well,” Smith said via CSNHouston. “I mean, the bottom line of the situation is can the kid play or not? And I think that if he can play and guys won’t really think about that.”
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