The “good old boy” network that is professional football is poised for a wake up call..in the form of a mild-mannered kicker from the state of Florida. Alan Gendreau is a kicker from Middle Tennessee State University in conservative Murfreesboro. Gendreau is athletically talented, helping take the Blue Raiders to an impressive 8-4 record in the Sun Belt Conference, and has his sights set on the NFL. Gendreau is also openly gay.
Gendreau felt supported by his fellow players, having come out to the team in his freshman year. Teammate Josh Davis summed up the feelings of the team to OutSports.
“Everyone just saw him as a football player. He was just one of the guys. The fact that he proved himself on the field, there was a respect for him.”
Still, the question remains if the NFL is ready to open its ranks to an openly gay player. Many NFL players have come out in support of gay players on the field. Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings is a vocal gay rights advocate, and feels that the time has come for gay athletes to take a stand and be accepted.
“It’s totally legit that (Gendreau) can get into the league,” says Kluwe. “Place-kicking is all about doing this one specific skill set. And if you can do that, you can make it whether you’ve been out of football for one year or 10 years.”
Another positive for Gendreau and other gay athletes; endorsements. The deals that could be available for gay athletes could be lucrative for not only the players but their teams as well.
Homophobia is still rampant in professional sports…football is no exception. Do you think the time is right for out players in the sport, or any of the professional sports? Weigh in with your comments here.