NFL: Homosexual Tolerance & Marriage Equality

Wow…I was surprised to discovery that during the negotiations process of NFL lock out this past summer, a new provision was added to the player’s contracts.  The new contract provision reads…

“Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.”

“Sexual orientation” was not in the 2006 collective bargaining agreement, which read “there would be no discrimination based on race, religion, national origin or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.”

So if a player in an organization is thinking about or does come out of the closet; they can now be legally protected against any discrimination or backlash.

Interesting fact is that two of the lawyers representing the players in the negotiations were two of the same lawyers who worked to overturn the California ban on marriage equality.  Ted Olson and David Boies

Currently there are no openly gay professional sports players in football, basketball, baseball or hockey.  There are professional sport organizations have openly supported gay rights by either having “gay” nights or events at their games and stadiums or contributing videos for the “It Gets Better” Campaign.

The It Gets Better Project started in 2010 in response to suicides involving young people who experienced bullying, harassment and abuse in their schools because of their perceived sexual orientation.

The 2011 NFL season is well on its way and so far no NFL team has contributed a video for the campaign; however there are current NFL players who have come out in support of gay rights and marriage equality.



“Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everybody the same, and that’s equal. America is supposed to be the land of the free but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love regardless of their gender.”

Brendon Ayanbadejo (shown)

Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens is very outspoken when it comes to marriage equality and wrote a piece in the Huffington Post a couple of years ago (read here).  Scott Fujita, a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns publicy shares the same sentiments and thoughts (read here).  Donte’ Stallworth, who now plays with the Washington Redskins has also shown support of same-sex marriage via his tweets (read here).

Steve Tisch (owner of the New York Giants) filmed a video in support of marriage equality in June, as did Michael Strahan, a former defensive end for the team.  So at least we know there are some NFL players out there that show their support.

Bottom line, there is a ways to go but these are good steps in the right direction.  Check out the video from Brendon Ayanbadejo on this subject below…

– Octavius