Sep 22, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin (71), guard Richie Incognito (68), and center Mike Pouncey (51) prepare to block for quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) as Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (95) looks on in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Super Bowl XLVIII--Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars


That Super Bowl Matchup About As
Likely As NFL Locker Rooms
Being Ready For A Gay Player

By ALLEN JONES

So you still insist it would be a great idea that professional athletes come out of the closet while playing their particular sport?

This week’s unfolding events surrounding the Miami Dolphins, where one player basically quit the team and the coach suspended another player in a related incident for the reason “conduct detrimental to the team,” tells me this is another reason gay athletes should stay in the closet.

Earlier this year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he is gay to the delight of every homosexual except one … me. Collins is now playing the blame game. He remarked that he thinks the reason he has not hooked up with another NBA team has to do with him coming out. I partly agree. I blame his bad timing more than the other valid reasons for a team taking a pass on this much older player.

Collins’ May 6 announcement in Sports Illustrated came on the heels of my April 11 guest opinion piece, “Reasons to Stay in the Closet,” published in The Bay Area Reporter. Now, I have another reason to suggest gay athletes stay in the closet; the NFL will not have the maturity needed for at least another 10 years, if ever.

For the record, “bullying” or “hazing” as reported does not best describe what may have happened at the Miami Dolphins’ facility.

Furthermore, the reason of conduct detrimental to the team given by the coach for suspending Richie Incognito is weak at best.Yes, I believe a racial slur and threats of harm were made in reference to Jonathan Martin and his family. However, Martin never approached his coaches about Incognito’s conduct prior to his leaving the team, nor were the remarks by Incognito made to anyone else on the team.

As reported, Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, commenting on investigating the two incidents said, “It’s going to be comprehensive, it’s going to be objective and we as an organization are going to give our full cooperation. If the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere I will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that it is. I have that obligation to the players I coach on a daily basis.”

Well that’s nice, coach. But with all due respect to your obligation as a coach, I am not buying it. There is a better chance that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars will be this season’s Super Bowl teams. (Check their records as of Week 9.)

The “comprehensive” investigation will not answer two questions, even if the final report is as thick as the Yellow Pages.

–How does a player like Richie Incognito, once voted the NFL’s Dirtiest Player, continue to have a job after nine years in the league?
–How does a player like Jonathan Martin, smart enough to tackle Classical Studies at Stanford University, forget how to communicate?

The NFL locker room environment in 2013 is not safe for the 6-foot-5, 312-pound offensive lineman Martin. Therefore, common sense tells me that there is no way in hell we can reasonably expect that the same atmosphere would be safe for an openly gay athlete, half an inch taller or even one pound heavier.

With all the shenanigans that tag along with the “professional” athlete, we should face it. Boys will be boys and if we expect these athletes to be professional at anything, we can only hope for the days that they wake up and realize the game is over.

According to a March 2009 Sports Illustrated report, by the time NFL players are retired for two years, 78 percent have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.

We expect these same “men” to understand homosexuality? Get real!

Allen Jones is a prison reform activist living in San Francisco and author of Case Game-Activating the Activist. His autobiography of a black, crippled homosexual is in the San Francisco Public Library.

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Tags: Gay Athletes Jonathan Martin Miami Dolphins NFL Richie Incognito