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Connor Barwin: Openly gay player would be welcomed

Houston Texans linebacker Connor Barwin has a gay brother. This is a regular part of life in America, but it's not something that's usually talked about in the NFL.

Barwin is part of a different generation of players, though. He knows it will be difficult for the first openly gay NFL player to come out, but he thinks the reaction inside the locker room would be different than people expect.

"I think right now it would probably be hard for a guy to come out in our locker room just because of the awkwardness. But I think they would be surprised at how welcoming people would be," Barwin told OutSports.com on Monday. "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."

Tolerance sadly takes time. Sports has always been an area of life that brings different groups of people together, yet the attitude around homosexuality in pro sports has lagged behind the rest of the country. Barwin is a good example of the changing values.

The more people like Barwin and former NFL player Wade Davis speak out, the easier it will be for a player when an overdue barrier is broken.

"The first guy that does come out in the NFL might confide in some of his friends and it might spread and be accepted throughout the locker room," Barwin said. "And people would just get to know he’s gay and people will move on with football, the season and their life and realize it’s not a big deal at all."

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