Around the same time Jason Collins became the first major league athlete to come out of the closet, some pretty major names and organizations followed suit by coming out in support and encouraging other LGBT athletes to do the same.
Among them was the NFL, who touted fans and the press with an alleged “mass coming out” of a handful of NFL stars. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, and the NFL instead dealt with blowback after reportedly inquiring about the sexual orientation of potential prospects.
But as training camps open throughout the NFL this week, the upcoming season is moving forward without any LGBT athletes. Does it mean the NFL is discriminatory?
Viv Bernstein of the New York Times writes in her personal blog:
As of today, veteran NBA player Jason Collins remains the only professional athlete in a major team sport in the U.S. to come out while still active. Interestingly, right now Collins is a free agent as well. And so far, he has not been able to secure a contract for next season. Is that because he is gay or because he is a journeyman near or at the end of his career? That remains to be seen.
Fans even claimed when Collins’ coming out was fresh that it may not affect his ability to land a contract this year, recognizing that he was already an old horse among stallions. Another free agent still without a contract is our old pal Kerry Rhodes, who has battled gay rumors since photos of his alleged gay affair began circulating on the web.
Though he has never publicly come out, Rhodes stirred up controversy in the weeks following his pseudo-outing by denying it, employing a beard, and claiming he was the father of Kim Kardashian’s baby.
According to Bernstein, Rhodes is ranked as one of the better safeties in the league right now, and as an eight-year veteran at a ripe 30-years-old, should already have a contract. That’s not to say he isn’t looking—he told AL.com earlier this month that “it’s in the works” and he “can’t talk about it in depth.”
So, sports fans, why isn’t Kerry Rhodes working? Could his brush with gay rumors be holding him back from a contract this year, or is he just getting ready for his rumored Dancing With the Stars stint?