Bruce Smith, one of the best players in NFL history, isn’t shy about his support for Carl Nassib and gay athletes. In fact, he’s had some on his teams.
The Buffalo Bills legend chatted with TMZ about his feelings about Nassib’s coming out, and it was all positive.
Smith also shared that he knew he had a gay teammate on the Bills, and he didn’t care:
We had a gay player in our locker room in the mid to late 90s. And I think we might have had two. But that wasn’t what we were focused on we were focused on winning games. And each and every person that was in that locker room contributing to the goal at hand, which was winning football games, none of that other stuff mattered. This was about winning football games and trying to be a good person.
That attitude reflects what Hall of Famer Warren Moon said last week about his experience with gay teammates on the Houston Oilers:
I played with several guys who never were comfortable enough to go public. They were great teammates, & obviously very talented.
While this was a revelation for some people, Moon had talked a decade ago about his gay teammates, and his equal treatment of them.
Also a decade ago, I asked Michael Irvin what would have happened with the Dallas Cowboys if they had had a gay player on the team in the 1990s.
“I believe, if a teammate had said he was gay, we would have integrated him and kept moving because of the closeness,” Irvin told me at the time. “We had a bunch of different characters on that team. Deoin [Sanders] and Emmitt [Smith]. I believe that team would have handled it well.”
It all reflects what we at Outsports have said for years — and we’re going to keep beating this drum — that the NFL and its players are far more accepting of gay people than we give them credit, and that has been the case for many years.