Logan Zone

Gay players in the NFL is nothing new

Posted May 12
Updated July 28

— Make no mistake, Michael Sam is not the first gay player in the NFL. He has an opportunity to make the St. Louis Rams roster and become the first openly gay player, but there are players in every league in multiple locker rooms that are gay.

A seventh-round draft pick, Sam made his sexuality known before the NFL Draft and created a media buzz, even making the cover of Sports Illustrated. But the only question players and coaches around the league care about is, ‘Can he play?’

NFL locker rooms have operated under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for a long, long time. What every coach has to do is set a list of ground rules. I used to address certain things every year.

I made it known, politics and religion would not be discussed in a locker room. This is about football and we are here to be a team. It is impossible to get 53 guys to agree on politics and religion so we will leave those discussions at the door.

Simply put, we don’t care about your personal life. If you can sack the quarterback and make plays, nobody cares. If you can’t you won’t have a job in a week.

Johnny Manziel
Did Johnny Manziel really “fall?”

When it is all said and done, only 32 players are first-round draft picks. Only three of those this year were quarterbacks. The Cleveland Browns gambled and took a cornerback, Justin Gilbert, early. They won the gamble when Dallas passed on Manziel at pick No. 16 and he was sitting there for the Browns at No. 22.

I give credit to the Browns for what they were able to do in the early rounds of the draft and I am encouraged at the possibilities with Manziel running the offense in the future.

What comes with Manziel is a demand to be on the field. Whether he is the best quarterback on the roster come Week 1 or not, his contract and his profile will ensure he is on the field. He will be forced to be the face of the franchise – which is okay – but he needs to grow with the league and the responsibilities that come along with that.

Panthers Skip on OT
The “experts” identified the offensive line as a need for the Carolina Panthers heading into the NFL Draft. Fans read that and were up in arms when the Panthers walked out of the draft without a tackle.

Here’s what the Panthers were thinking:

If we don’t take a tackle, that we know is not up to par and not worth it, we will have an issue for one year. If we do take one that is over-priced and under-performing, we will have an issue for many years.

The point is not to worry about what you didn’t get. Focus on what you did get. Teams need to be smart about who they do have and don’t get caught up in a guy that can’t play just because it’s a “need.”

Carolina did get a guard, Trai Turner, in the third round. Before that, the best players on the board that could help the team were Kelvin Benjamin and Kony Ealy. Make no mistake, the WR and DE were also needs.

Of the undrafted players that the Panthers will work out, no fewer than three will be offensive lineman including Miami’s Jared Wheeler and Ohio State’s Andrew Norwell.

55 Comments

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  • KT smakt your mother May 14, 11:50 a.m.

    "Gay players in the NFL is nothing new"
    That's right. Kerliner has put a few players in the NFL.

  • allenmga May 13, 10:36 a.m.

    This is great coming from an ex-ECU football coach. "Simply put, we don't care about your... View More

    — Posted by huxter72

    As a former D-I football player, I can tell you these coaches absolutely care about their players as people and young men. Taken out of context Logan's comment could be interpreted as if he didn't care about his players as people but that's the furthest from the truth. Often times these coaches are the first men in these players lives that have cared for their well-being and success...the first father figure.

    What he meant was: when it comes to the team, we don't care if you're black or white, (in this case) gay or straight, dem or rep as long as you buy in to the team and will go to war with your brothers day in and day out. Everything else is left at the door for the greater good of the team.

  • uBnice May 13, 8:36 a.m.

    "It is impossible to get 53 guys to agree on politics and religion so we will leave those... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    Agree. One of my favorite things about sports is it has nothing to do with politics.

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    Until recently...now it has everything to do with politics. The current commissioners of the NFL... View More

    — Posted by ncprr1

    Decline? Maybe for some. The first round NBA playoffs have been a huge success. The NFL draft (the draft?) crushed the NBA and NHL playoffs in interest. The NFL is huge in interest.

    Pro baseball is in decline from what I see.

    Americans love their sports entertainment. Personally, I am waiting on the World Cup tournament! It doesn't look good for the American team given the "division of death" they have been placed in. But if they lose, I will simply turn my attention to another team to root for.

  • thomasew May 13, 8:16 a.m.

    It is like gays in the military, he ain't the first, and its likely he will not be the last. Need to quit talking about it, and keeping in the forefront of the news. A lot of people are sick to death of hearing this trash being on the TV everyday.

  • ncprr1 May 13, 7:56 a.m.

    "It is impossible to get 53 guys to agree on politics and religion so we will leave those... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    Agree. One of my favorite things about sports is it has nothing to do with politics.

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    Until recently...now it has everything to do with politics. The current commissioners of the NFL and NBA are totally political, as are most of the people on ESPN. I predict that interest in professional sports will continue to decline, as long as that is the case.

  • uBnice May 13, 7:31 a.m.

    My prediction is that Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, will not make the NFL. He was drafted in the 7th round for a reason. He simply does not project well in the NFL and the potential disruption he may bring to the locker room and organization. The reality is that the NFL is mostly populated by men who do not care for openly gay guys in the locker room.

    If you are gay going into the NFL, you better have the talent of a Clowney.

  • Gunnstigator May 13, 6:33 a.m.

    "It is impossible to get 53 guys to agree on politics and religion so we will leave those... View More

    — Posted by PanthersFan45

    Agree. One of my favorite things about sports is it has nothing to do with politics.

  • heelsforever May 12, 10:33 p.m.

    Wonder how God feels about so many of us taking on his judgement responsibilities...

  • huxter72 May 12, 10:15 p.m.

    This is great coming from an ex-ECU football coach. "Simply put, we don't care about your personal life." If that isn't the biggest understatement I don't know what is. ECU is well known for taking the limit on academic qualifiers every year. What a stupid statement by an ex D1 coach. Nah, don't worry about the personal life of a player when the law is calling at 2AM on Sunday telling you we've arrested your star running back. When your star QB can't pass basket weaving 101, nah, don't get involved. But Logan's not alone. Coaches, administrators, presidents, etc... they don't care anymore either. As long as you can ball that's all that matters.

  • PanthersFan45 May 12, 6:16 p.m.

    "It is impossible to get 53 guys to agree on politics and religion so we will leave those discussions at the door."

    I like that talking point, its also one of the things that makes sports so fun. The competition, teamwork and excitement of sports often result in very little discussion of these topics. Most sports fans I know really don't have a lot to say about politics. In fact most don't care.

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