Last week a story came out about Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple being asked if he liked men by Marquand Manuel, an assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons; Manuel said, after asking Apple if he liked men, that if Apple came to Atlanta “sometimes that’s how it is around here, you’re going to have to get used to it.’”
After reading the story, Chicago Tribune sportswriter Chris Hine wrote his own column about the NFL’s anti-gay culture and, in doing so, publicly came out as gay:
“As a 29-year-old gay man, I spent the better part of two decades agonizing over that question and finally, when I was 20, came to accept that the answer was ‘Yes.’
It took another two years before I could tell my family, another year after that before I mustered up the courage to tell my closest friends and, well, six years after that to finally write about it in the Chicago Tribune.
But the episode that played out at the combine during Apple’s interview was disgraceful and illuminates just how far the NFL has to go before its culture embraces an openly gay player. It is still a league where being gay is seen as negative.
If you read between the lines, Manuel is essentially saying, “Hey, if we pick you, you’re going to live in Atlanta and you might be out somewhere and get hit on by a gay guy. You’re OK with that, right? But you’re also not going to go home with him, right?”
Congratulations to Chris Hine for not only coming out, but continuing to spotlight the homophobia of the NFL, because it won’t be until the light shines fully that an openly gay player be part of the NFL, part of a team, and not feel harassed or discriminated against or mistreated.
So, not only for coming out, but for speaking out about the NFL, we here at HOMO HQ would like to offer Chris Hine a copy of The Gay Agenda and the Obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven.
Welcome out, Chris.
And thank you.