Was NFL Draft Weekend A Win For Gays?
By Out.com Editors
Depending on how you look at it, this weekend was either a win or a loss for gay football players.
It was a loss because Alan Gendreau, the gay 23-year old kicker formerly of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, was not picked during the NFL draft. It's a disappointment for Gendreau and his fans, yes, but not the end of the game. Gendreau insists he'll keep high-kicking until he gets on football's main stage. "Just an FYI. I am NOT a part of the NFL draft," he tweeted yesterday. "I am training right now with hopes of landing a tryout at a training camp in a couple months!"
And it's for that reason that this weekend was still a victory in some respect: Gendreau's on the League's radar, and while the NFL may have passed on Gendreau — as Connor Simpson at The Atlantic Wire points out, kickers, gay or straight, were not in high demand this year — at least the public at large and the League's higher-ups now know that, yes, gay men are fully capable of playing the game. They just need a chance.
On a related note, one that may bring the entire weekend back down to a loss, Chris Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings player who speaks out for equality and graced our cover last year, appears anxious about his team's new hire: UCLA's Jeff Locker, a punter like him. Does management want a player with less political baggage? Kluwe seems to think so, telling NBC Sports' Mike Florio, "It’s a shame that in a league with players given multiple second chances after arrests, including felony arrests, that speaking out on human rights has a chance of getting you cut." And Florio seems to agree, reminding readers that Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer recently griped of Kluwe's activism, "Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you."
Another pro-equality player, Brendon Ayanbadejo, was cut from his team, the Baltimore Ravens, earlier this month, and claimed, briefly, that he was forced out for his off-field activism.