Gays in the NFL

Hall of Famer Warren Moon says gay footballers are a reality

“I think I’ve played with a couple of players who have been gay. I know of a couple of players, who I won’t mention their names because they have not made it public yet,” says NFL Hall of Famer Warren Moon. He says gays do play professional sports – but they often stay in the closet for fear of being treated negatively.

The 17-year pro football veteran talked openly about the reality of gay players in the game on the Victor and Matt Sports Podcast recently.

Moon is supportive of fellow gay players – and talked about how important it is to keep one’s personal life from interfering with the professional one. “It really doesn’t bother me what your sexual preference is as long as you don’t bring in your sexual preferences to the locker room,” Moon says. “I think that should be for homosexuals and heterosexuals. That’s a personal part of your life you should deal with in that way. As long as you’re coming to the football team and bringing a positive influence, that’s all that matters to me.”

Moon’s comments come on the heels of a recent debate about coming out in professional sports – and whether anti-gay language should be tolerated on the field or in the stands.

It’s been rumored that Moon, who admits that he’s played with gay players in the past, could be referring to Ernest Givens. Both men played together on the Houston Oilers more than two decades ago. But by the late 1990s Givens denied any gay rumors that dogged him on ESPN.

Recently, however, Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts came out, as did Will Sheridan, a former Villanova all-star we wrote about on G Philly. And almost a decade ago Esera Tuaolo also told the media he was a gay NFLer.

Moon commends Welts for coming out, calling him “a good friend.” He even suggests that it shouldn’t take so long for people to come out in professional sports. “I am proud of Rick for what he is doing. …Sports has the ability to bring people together,” says Moon, “regardless of what your race is, what your political affiliation is, what your religious affiliation is.”