Houston — Long before the question of whether the NFL is ready for an openly gay player, at least two key members of the tumultuous 1993 Houston Oilers team were gay, former teammates have told the Houston Chronicle.
“Not only did the team know about the situation,” the Chronicle’s Brian T. Smith reports, “but players accepted their gay teammates and did not outcast them.”
The unidentified players, who were not “out” publicly to fans, were referred to as “unbelievable teammates’ by former linebacker Lamar Lathon, and former cornerback Cris Dishman said having gay players in the locker room was “no big deal.”
Article continues below“Listen, those guys that we’re talking about were unbelievable teammates. And if you wanted to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys,” said Latho. “And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that things were not exactly right. But guess what? When they strapped the pads on and got on the field, man, we were going to war with these guys because they were unbelievable.”
In April, NBA center Jason Collins became the first active athlete in any of the four major pro sports to announce he was gay. But Collins, now a free agent, hasn’t played for a team since the 2013-14 season began.
To date, no NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL athlete has ever publicly declared being gay while playing for a team.