In a new ESPN interview, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shares his thoughts on why gay NFL players are afraid to come out.
Rodgers talks about his friend Ryan O’Callaghan, a former offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, who came out as gay in June after years of contemplating suicide.
“I’m incredibly proud of him,” Rodgers says. “I know he had a lot of fear about it, and how he would be accepted, and how people would change around him. I think society is finally moving in the right direction, as far as treating all people with respect and love and acceptance and appreciation. And the locker room, I think the sport is getting closer.”
Rodgers points to the absence of guaranteed contracts as a reason that players like O’Callaghan worry about retribution from both teammates and executives.
“There’s a fear of job security,” the former Super Bowl MVP explains. “If you have a differing opinion, differing sexual orientation, they can get rid of you. So is it better just to be quiet and not ever say anything? And not risk getting cut, with people saying: ’Well, it’s because you can’t play?'”
“I don’t agree with any type of racist or homophobic language, any of that type of stuff from the crowd to the people on the field,” he told ESPN in a previous interview.