Last week, Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel visited with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman of FOX Sports Primetime, and Samuel was asked about the then-fresh decision of NBA center Jason Collins to announce that he is gay.
“Straight people are not announcing they’re straight, so why does everybody have to announce their sexuality or whatever?” Samuel said. “You know, what they prefer. So, that’s just how I see it. That’s just my opinion on things. All respect, you know, I have nothing but respect for the people whoever decisions they make and whatever, but you know, you don’t have to show it and flaunt it like that. You know what I’m saying? We got kids out here, too.”
We gave Samuel the benefit of the doubt regarding his reference to children, assuming he simply didn’t want to expose them to any conversations about sexuality: “While some may interpret Samuel’s remarks as meaning that he doesn’t want kids to be exposed to discussion about homosexuality for fear that they might become gay, his point seems to be that it makes little sense to be having conversations about sex within the confines of sports.”
But then Samuel traveled to Bristol for an appearance on ESPN, and he elaborated on his concerns about children. (I didn’t realize it had even happened until appearing within the past hour on FOX Sports Primetime and having O’Brien and Hartman mention it.) The second time around, it sounded a lot more like Samuel’s concern isn’t sexuality but, indeed, homosexuality.
“I don’t want to teach my kids those things,” Samuel said. “I teach my kids God, how God lives His life.”
The interview was more than a bit awkward and clumsy, with Samuel avoiding any comments on whether he’d welcome an openly gay teammate or how the NFL should deal with the situation when it arises.
“If they pay me to figure it out, I’d do it,” Samuel said. Asked by host Chris McKendry what he’d do, Samuel said, “I gotta get the check first.”
Translation? Samuel has no idea what he’d do, because he knows that plenty of guys in the NFL feel the same way he does, which means that there would be plenty of resentment if/when a gay player chooses to (as Samuel put it last week) “flaunt” his sexuality.
And we wonder why no gay NFL player has felt comfortable about acknowledging who he is.