On the heels of CBSSports.com's report last week stating an NFL player is "strongly considering" coming out as gay, NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth revealed the union has been working hard to prepare players for the unavoidable announcement.
"We've had quite a few meetings with a number of organizations to help educate our players," Foxworth said Tuesday while on WNST-AM in Baltimore. "It's important that we educate our guys and be ready for this inevitability."
Foxworth believes there are some gay players in the game today and that there have been for a while. He even went so far as to say, "there are probably gay players in the Hall of Fame."
So the preparation Foxworth is spearheading is to ensure that nobody is shocked when the announcement comes from that player, or players.
"It's not gonna be easy for that person, which is why we're doing everything we can," Foxworth said. "When the public finds out about it, it's going to be a media storm and it's gonna be a lot of press and a lot of attention. And probably not all of it's gonna be positive. ... Someone on Twitter brought this up to me ... it doesn't have to be one player. When one player comes out (it's possible) multiple players will, because they are in our league right now."
Most current NFL players have been positive when asked how they would react to having an openly gay teammate, though San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver did state before the Super Bowl that he would not accept a gay teammate. Culliver quickly apologized and spent a day earlier this month with a Los Angeles-based organization that provides crisis and suicide intervention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths.
"You have to accept the player," Gronkowski said on ESPN Radio New York. "Everyone has their own ways to live their life, and as long as he's respecting me, keeping distance, respecting myself, then I will respect him back. If he's being a great teammate and he's a guy on the field doing a great job, then you have nothing to complain about. He's another teammate and another friend."
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brandon Ayanbadejo share Gronkowski's opinion, as both have lobbied for same-sex marriage rights in several states.Follow Kenny Legan on Twitter @KennyLegan.