Posted December 26, 2013

Members of ’93 Oilers say they knew two teammates were gay, but it ‘was no big deal’

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(Jim Mone/AP Photo)

The 1993 Houston Oilers team contained two gay members, according to the Houston Chronicle.  (Jim Mone/AP Photo)

The story of the 1993 Houston Oilers, a made-for-TV team if there ever was one, recently was a subject of the NFL Network’s popular series “A Football Life”. But while that program dove into the issues surrounding that talented but unsettled team, it apparently failed to capture the whole story.

The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that “at least two key members” of that ’93 Oilers team were gay. “Not only did the team know about the situation,” the Chronicle’s Brian T. Smith wrote, “but players accepted their gay teammates and did not outcast them.”

Bubba McDowell, a member of the Oilers from 1989-94, told the Chronicle: “Everybody knew certain guys (were gay). Everybody speculated and people used to see these two guys come in by themselves. They’d leave at lunchtime and then come back.”

McDowell added that the situation was “no big deal”.

Linebacker Lamar Lathon, an Oiler from ’90-94 and then a Pro Bowler for Carolina, said that the sexual orientation of players in the locker room was not one of the myriad issues facing that infamous 1993 Houston team.

“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 Pro Bowl linebacker Lamar Lathon, who starred at the University of Houston. “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.”

The NFL has never had an openly gay player among its active ranks. Back in April, former Baltimore Raven Brandon Ayanbadejo, a vocal advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage, said that up to four current players were “trying to be organized so they can come out on the same day together” and that something of that nature “will happen sooner than you think”.

One day later, during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Ayanbadejo tempered that timeline: “What we want to facilitate is getting them all together so they can lean on each other, so they can have a support group. And potentially it’s possible, it’s fathomable, that they could possibly do something together and break a story together, and one of them had voiced that he would like to break his story with somebody else, and not do it alone, and that’s all I’m saying.”

The NBA’s Jason Collins made history in the May 6, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, becoming the first openly gay athlete in the NBA.

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins wrote.

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

However, Collins has remained a free agent since his contract expired at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Former Middle Tennessee State kicker Alan Gendreau, who came out when he was 15, expressed his desire to kick in the NFL this past offseason though such an opportunity has not yet presented itself. A more high-profile situation arose surrounding Kerry Rhodes, who vehemently denied on multiple occasions rumors that he was gay, which arose after his alleged ex, Russell Simpson, released photos of himself with Rhodes.

Rhodes, after an impressive 2012 season, went unsigned through the entire 2013 campaign.

116 comments
RobMonteleone
RobMonteleone

maybe it wasn't a big deal on the Oilers cause the two gays stfu about it and went about their business.

RaidLakeDodge
RaidLakeDodge

you know they say two things come out of Texas.......steers and.........

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

Teammates say Clay Matthews is non hetero, coming out party to be held at Ryan Brauns house.

Steve Moore
Steve Moore

one was a split end, other a tight end

GregoryMcDivitt
GregoryMcDivitt

Please tell me that one of them wasn't Roger Staubach.

GT500456
GT500456

Most of us know our president is gay, and it's no big deal.


Why should an Oiler being gay matter?    In keeping with the gay theme, technically there are only four teams in the NFL that could have gay  players:   The Oilers, Packers, Browns, and Rams.

6marK6
6marK6

I was the biggest Oiler fan back in the day, so sad when they left for Tennessee.

dirty bird lover
dirty bird lover

I dont think it is necessary to hold a big conference to declare that they are GAY! Who cares except other gay people looking for a common bond with others of their persuasion? If people want to be gay that is their prerogative but dont bring attention to yourself over something that should be a private matter!

HawthorneWingo
HawthorneWingo

Jeff Garcia lisped on the NFL Network that he'll tap dance his approval whenever he...uh, I mean when some NFL player finally comes out of the closet.

FifthInTheOrder
FifthInTheOrder

One of them did a ridiculous dance after scoring a TD at the end of the 2nd Qtr of The Comeback.  Too bad he couldn't dance like that at the end of the game.  

Oh.  There were black players in that locker room.  Even a latino as well.  No big deal.

CharlieHiatt
CharlieHiatt

Why does anyone really care?  Can they block, tackle, run, catch, throw?  Story ends there.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Same goes with the 2013 Green Bay Packers, rumors state that Rodgers and Matthews swing that way.

KentColeslaw
KentColeslaw

One of them was Earnest Givens. I know someone that was on that very team and he told me that a few years ago.

robert.bruce.parsons
robert.bruce.parsons

Of course it was "no big deal."  The media was in the middle of other things back then.  They had not yet made it their goal to be sure that at least 20% of all stories had the word "gay" in the headline.  They were not yet trying to force this thing on the American public, pretending that most of us were interested.


The constant pushing of this one issue ad absurdum is doing more to hurt the cause than anything.  Every day, having to confront this one issue on every site is doing exactly the opposite of what they want it to do.  It is making us sick of having to hear about it.


Of course it was "no big deal."  It never was until a small minority tried to make it so.

StephenGrafton
StephenGrafton

Ah, another sportswriter attempting to do something relevant. Has pro sports ever had a manufactured issue of this magnitude? I can't remember. Anyhow, here's how it will happen; an NFL player will "come out", be lauded as the second coming of Jackie Robinson, the sportswriter who breaks the story will be celebrated as a fearless "journalist" and be as the sporting Bob Woodward. Then. Nothing will happen. Because no gives a s**t if a Defensive back, Offensive Tackle or anyone else is into guys. It is a completely useless fact with zero effect on the game, the league or the world at large. Of course people will trot out the usual "social justice" angle. But please enlighten me, how exactly are homosexuals being oppressed? Gays walk freely in every city in this country, at the safest and most comfortable period in human history, fearless of being lynched by some psycho. Yes, there are those who dislike the homosexual lifestyle, but guess what? There are plenty of people who don't like me, either. Welcome to the real world. 

BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro

Keep lookin'MSM you will find a CS sooner or later.Who gives a s hit??

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

Lesbian women reporters are allowed into the men's locker rooms to interview them


Why not have former male gay athletes turned broadcasters go into the women's locker rooms to do the same type thing  ?

rma101560
rma101560

So, do you suppose Jason Collins is a "free agent" because he is gay or because he is on the downside of an unspectacular career?  "Free agent" being a euphemism for unemployed and likely to remain that way in terms of the NBA.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

I think Terrific Tom will probably wait until he retires to let us all know...

cleopatra209
cleopatra209

@GT500456 we also know that you were conceived through immaculate conception! are you any less a valued member of society??

Wesley11
Wesley11

@CharlieHiattSeriously. They're playing football. Can they play football? I really don't care about much of the rest.

x72
x72

@Richard--Ramirez Not sure about matthews but it's true about rodgers, he's announced it today.

jaye41
jaye41

So, if it's not such a big deal, how come players who are suspected of being gay or have come out can't get work?? Kerry Rhodes is no slouch, yet no team offered him a contract. Yeah, it is a big deal..

matt37
matt37

@StephenGraftonYou toolbag.  How about the fact that in over 60% of the states in this country you can get legally fired, without recourse, just for admitting you're gay.

BillieBob
BillieBob

@StephenGrafton  

"But please enlighten me, how exactly are homosexuals being oppressed?"


Seriously? How about starting with all the gay teenagers who end up hanging themselves after being harrassed and beaten up by classmates. Or how about the 1000+ legal rights that heteros have that are denied to gays. Geez, read a newspaper sometime...

OK
OK

@rentistoohigh  

"Why not have former male gay athletes turned broadcasters go into the women's locker rooms to do the same type thing  ?"'

Cuz Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin already have day jobs.

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@rentistoohigh Because nobody watches or reports on women's sports, so there would be no point.  Any demand that does exist is easily met by the existing cadre of female reporters.

HawthorneWingo
HawthorneWingo

@rma101560 Jason Collins is a free agent because he sucks.  Not in the back of a car, but on the basketball court.  He's an over-the-hill player that has no business being in the NBA.

jaye41
jaye41

What about Kerry Rhodes?? He's a quality DB. As for Collins, there's many bum big men in the NBA, and Collins could be a good fit on many teams. If you think this isn't because he came out, keep fooling yourself.

vincedarnone
vincedarnone

And so here we go...the reason someone isn't signed is because he's gay- not because there are a significant number of talented players that go unsigned each year and that's just the way it is in the NFL. I'm a Steeler fan- and this year we signed not one- but TWO centers off the street who played spectacularly for us. There just simply aren't enough jobs to go around for all of the talent. But-before long, the media will heap pressure on coaches to hire players specifically BECAUSE they're gay...this is insane. It's been mob-think since the beginning of this issue. No one slows it down to talk about it or even reason about it.

StephenGrafton
StephenGrafton

@BillieBob @StephenGrafton Name one BillieBob. Please tell me what Civil Right homosexuals are denied, aside from being able to file their taxes jointly. Where exactly are the gay news editors being arrested? How many homosexual gatherings are busted up and the leaders imprisoned? When did we ban gays from voting? Owning firearms (well, standby for that one) or holding public office? There are gay congressmen, gay mayors, gay CEO's. But thank you for pointing out that children, adolescents and teenagers can be mean to one another. I had no idea. You're really onto something there.


David102
David102

@BillieBob@StephenGrafton  Teens are bullied for being too fat. For being too thin. For being too weak. For being too smart, too dumb, too different. IT'S HIGH SCHOOL. If it hurts that gays don't enjoy universal exemption from every difficulty life presents, get in line. As for the "1000+ legal rights" denied to gays, you probably can't name more than one--and that one evaporates in numberous states.

StephenGrafton is right. This is an empty feel-good for the journalists, while generating lots of web hits. Pure bait-and-switch--hint at lurid details, then say a whole lot of nothing. 

muser
muser

@BillieBob 1000+ legal rights that are denied to gays? Seriously? Are you that ignorant BillieBob or that intentionally dishonest?

muser
muser

@OK It always amuses me when those who demand gay rights find it useful to insult people by calling them gay......

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

@DSmithy3211 @rentistoohigh "Nobody"  is an uninformed and malformed statement regarding women's sports


Balance and fairness is what is important


Send Mike Greenberg into the women's locker room..will it matter ?  

donniejohnson4
donniejohnson4

@vincedarnone Kerry Rhodes was arguably the best safety in the NFL in 2012 though.  That's pretty significant that he's just been forgotten.  

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@Wesley11@muser 

Marriage is between man and woman.  Period.

Just because left-wing zealots like you don't like it doesn't mean it should be changed.

People like you would have stood around King Canute as the waters came in, shocked that he couldn't force the tide to stay out.

Wesley11
Wesley11

@muser

There are 1000+ legal rights instantly, freely, and legally conferred to straight married couples that gay couples cannot access in the same manner. Some of them simply cannot be replicated by legal contracts--like spousal privileged or exception rights in court cases that some states have or various tax discounts. To replicate the rest (like power of attorney, inheritance rights, etc), one study estimated more than $30,000 in legal fees to match those rights straight couples get for a $50 marriage license. 

So, yes. Seriously. 

OK
OK

@muser

Well, El Lardo, Buffalo Butt, the Obese Drug Addict, With Power On Loan From Big Pharma isn't taking all those private planes to the Dominican for the winter league baseball, muse...

And where El Lardo goes, his attack puppy, Levin of Judea and Samaria, is right behind.

DSmithy3211
DSmithy3211

@rentistoohigh It's quite balanced and fair.  With the exception of the Olympics and the Women's World Cup, there is simply precious little demand for women's sports as a spectator sport.  The demand for (and corresponding supply of) reporting on women's sports is thus also low.  See, e.g., the amount of coverage on CNNSI and ESPN.  


The amount of coverage of women's sports corresponds with its demand as a spectator sport.  This is balanced.  And fair.  


This low demand can be easily satisfied by the existing cadre of female reporters.  Sending the likes of MG is unnecessary and will only serve to stir the pot.


By contrast, men's sports requires much more reporting.  The likes of CNNSI and ESPN use female reporters not for their shock value (or some moral or ethical directives), but simply because not using them would unnecessarily diminish the existing talent pool of reporters.  Yes, we would all like for all NFL reporters to have the Super Bowl credentials of Joe Montana, the insider sway of Ron Jaworski, and the tactical nous of Jon Gruden.  Alas, these reporters do not exist.  This is a very simple supply and demand issue, not a social one.