Our guest post today is from Victor Adeyanju, Victor was defensive end for the St. Louis Rams from ’06-’10, and then for a season with the Cincinnati Bengals. I asked (though I sort of knew) what he thought about all the drama circling around the very IDEA of gay athletes in the NFL. Maybe you know, or maybe you don’t, that after Michael Sam came out, some lobbyists scrambled to initiate this movement to ban openly gay players from the draft. Plenty of voices are weighing from various quarters, but it’s important to hear from the perspective of an actual team player–and I mean that in every sense of the word. Thanks for the good words, Vic! (insert football pun here)
My NFL experience gave me the honor and privilege to play amongst many of the great players that I watched as a kid, and in front of the amazing fans who made every game day special. It taught me the true value of teamwork, perseverance, and creating strong bonds with diverse individuals from all walks of life.
I find it very disturbing that anyone would seriously suggest banning gay players. Any form of discrimination is damaging to a team’s dynamic and casts a negative light on the entire organization. The game we play requires a significant amount of trust amongst fellow players. The teams are made up of men fighting for a common goal. They all just want to win. Players have to have each others backs during the game and respect one another as teammates and athletes. Respect in the NFL is earned through being an effective player, being accountable, and being dependable. These are the qualities that matter in the locker room and during a game. Sexual orientation is not a factor. Any serious athlete understands that the only qualities that matter are the ones that are going to give your team the competitive edge.
Personally, the sexual orientation of my teammates was not something I thought or cared about. I cared about if you knew your role in the upcoming play. I wanted to know if you were fast enough to block the opposing player who was diving for my knees, trying to take me out of the game. I wanted to see if you were a faster runner than the opposing team’s fastest player.
Being an NFL player is about playing harder than anyone who may be trying to stand in the way of your win. Any player– gay, straight, or whatever– who is trying to get you that win… he is your brother on game day.
Victor is currently a free agent. He lives in Phoenix, AZ with his beautiful wife Tranatta, their 4-year-old son, and baby #2 on the way–any day now!