The subject of openly gay players in the NFL has been on a lot of minds of late, but Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians brought a different element to the equation in a recent interview with FoxSports.com. In Arians' mind, teammates and opposing players would not be the primary issue for any NFL player who decided to come out while pursuing a pro football career -- the real problem would come from the fans.
“I don’t think the locker room would have any problem with it,” Arians told FOX Sports' Ross Jones by telephone in Wednesday. “The problem would be with the fans. I think especially opposing fans. Some of the things that are said are over the top and out of control that I can imagine what some fans would say to an openly gay player.”
Arians made a point to emphasize that harassment would not be as likely from an openly gay player's comrades on the field.
“As a coach and I can probably speak for our players too, I don’t think anybody would have any problem with it,” he said.
According to NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello, the league is ready to deal with any such issues.
“Our league and team security people would be ready to monitor any kind of public reaction that might not be appropriate, including scrubbing social media. We would assist the player in dealing with any adverse public reaction of any type, if there is any. Hopefully there wouldn’t be and it would be a non-issue, which it should be.”
Arizona approved a gay marriage ban in 2008, though there are those who would like to see that overturned. A Scottsdale group called Equal Marriage Arizona has filed a proposal to get a reversal of the law on the 2014 Arizona ballot.
“This measure will define marriage in Arizona as being a union of two persons," the proposal said in part. "It will ensure the protection of religious freedoms by specifying that religious organizations, religious associations, and religious societies in Arizona will not be required to solemnize or officiate any particular marriage or religious rite of marriage.”
Currently, 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, officially recognize same-sex unions.
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