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Questions on sexual orientation catch several NFL prospects off-guard

1:43 AM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After three NFL prospects said they were questioned about their sexual orientation at the Combine, a 1010XL DJ is feeling the heat after likening the first openly gay football player to a cancer-like distraction for the team.

"Being gay won't have any impact on how you play," said David Lamm. "I don't think it impacts anything that you do in your life but in football and other sports, I think it will be a factor to others and that will create a distraction."

The distraction is what Lamm was trying to convey in an editorial on his radio station's website. Part of it reads:

"I know how well an athlete can play is priority No. 1 but I also know NFL teams seek out any thing that could be disruptive to a team. No team willingly drafts or signs anyone who is a potential "cancer" in the locker room. There will be openly gay players in the NFL some day. I wish there was now so we wouldn't have to deal with the issue. But for the here and now an openly gay player would be a major distraction and a potential "cancer" in the locker room."

First Coast News spoke with Esera Tuaolo, who is a former Jaguars player and openly gay, about the question controversy.

Tuaolo, who spent nine years in the NFL, thinks the questions on sexual orientation are absurd and don't change the game.

"Times have changed and we are living in a different time where and it's more acceptable,"Tuaolo said. "But back when I came out in 1991, it was definitely not something that you wanted out."

According to Andrew Brandt, ESPN analyst and former team executive for the Green Bay Packers, "the timing is right" for the first openly gay NFL player. But for that to happen, there are some hurdles that would need to be cleared.

"You do see locker rooms as sort of the last bastion of chauvinism and males and making dirty jokes snapping towels and all that," said Brandt.

Brandt believes the only way to stop the sea of questions that would follow the player and the team is to address them and move on.

"The way the team has to handle it is have a press conference, have people comment on it that day and then the next day, and move on and then do not let it become something that's brought up all the time."

The NFL has said, "It is league policy to neither consider nor inquire about sexual orientation in the hiring process."

First Coast News

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