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Vilma apologizes for recent comments about gay players

Vilma AP

During Super Bowl week, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma made a controversial comment based on the hypothetical example of a gay player being on his team.  Now that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam has come out as gay, Vilma has expressed remorse for his prior remarks.

“It was a poor illustration of the example I was trying to give on the context, so I do apologize for that,” Vilma said Monday night on CNN, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  “I was trying to explain that whenever you have change into something that’s been set in stone for so long, something that’s been going for so long, that change always comes with a little resistance. . . .

“You have people that can be more outgoing, more open-minded. You have people that are a little more close-minded.  Some people grew up with or without the acceptance of gays within their families.  You have a lot of different elements within the locker room that you just don’t see right now.  Me being on the inside for 10 years, inside the locker room, I’ve been around that.”

Asked about the the acceptance of a gay player during Super Bowl week, Vilma told NFL Network, “I think that he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted.  I don’t want people to just naturally assume, like, ‘Oh, we’re all homophobic.’  That’s really not the case.  Imagine if he’s the guy next to me and, you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me.  How am I supposed to respond?”

On Monday, Vilma explained that he doesn’t know how things will unfold in the locker room because no openly gay player has played for an NFL team.

“I don’t know and the players don’t know because it’s the first time that you have a Michael Sam, who will by all accounts be drafted, openly gay, come into a locker room,” Vilma said.  “No one in the NFL in the past however many years has experienced this before so this is all new for everybody, this is new territory.”

It’s definitely new territory, and in a way it’s a good thing that a player has come out before being drafted by any one team.  For the next three months, every player currently in the league will have to realize that it ultimately could be his team that drafts Sam, which necessarily will compel every player to consider how he will handle the situation if Sam ends up on the player’s team, because as of right now there’s a one-in-32 chance Sam will.

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33 Responses to “Vilma apologizes for recent comments about gay players”
  1. angelogiaquinto18 says: Feb 10, 2014 11:20 PM

    Someone needs to tell Vilma to shut it after all his crap the past few years!

  2. brazy44 says: Feb 10, 2014 11:35 PM

    not surprised that some men are fearful that gays would subject them to the same leering they subject women to. like Mr.Sam said, a sterotype of gays is that they are predators and that is offensive to them.

  3. nfl4days says: Feb 10, 2014 11:40 PM

    I’ve been waiting all season for Vilma to show up. Not what I was looking for. nearly 32 years old with the knees of brian urlacher. It’s time to move on.

  4. qdog112 says: Feb 10, 2014 11:47 PM

    Fans of the status quo, should know that the NFL has sent memos to every employee reminding them of the league’s position.

    Tweeters who violate this “silent command” will have some plainin’ to do. Expect more retractions and less anonymous executives to be mouthing off.

    Players who decide to challenge the will of the league will find themselves unemployed. It’s naive to think that the league won’t run interference for Sam.

  5. edelmanfanclub says: Feb 11, 2014 12:14 AM

    “If you didn’t do it in the first place, you wouldn’t have anything to be sorry for.” – My 12th grade English Teacher.

  6. despenc925 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:18 AM

    he’s backpedaling so well the saints should consider moving him to corner!

  7. rujax206 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:32 AM

    I remember when women reporters in locker rooms was going to bring on “the end of the world.”

  8. smackingfools says: Feb 11, 2014 1:31 AM

    Waiting on somebody in America to say something and not apologize. I know that will never happen. But, it would be nice.

  9. floriooooooo says: Feb 11, 2014 2:04 AM

    boy…….Saints fans are really gonna miss Vilma’s 60 tackles in the last 3 seasons when he finally gets cut

  10. omniscient48 says: Feb 11, 2014 4:34 AM

    Vilma backpedals better than most linebackers.

  11. GenXJay says: Feb 11, 2014 6:20 AM

    Valid response.
    if someone doesn’t accept gay people, and that’s their opinion, why can’t that viewpoint be respected?

  12. jjbadd385 says: Feb 11, 2014 6:23 AM

    He has a right to feel any way he wants.

  13. larryravor says: Feb 11, 2014 7:00 AM

    The only reason people are staring at Vilma is because he is a crook and is out to hurt them for money.

  14. mgm54 says: Feb 11, 2014 7:05 AM

    These comments by African-American players are indicative of the lack of knowledge many have of the TRUE history of Blacks in America and pro sports. Reviews of comments in the ‘early’ days of professional sports carry some of the same type sentiments white players expressed concerning Jackie Robinson, FritzPollard, Bill Russell and other ground breaking athletes of color. Intolerance is nothing new in America, it is part of our fabric and seems Black athletes wear it well nowadays

  15. bullcharger says: Feb 11, 2014 7:10 AM

    If a gay player looks at Vilma or a straight layer looks at Vilma, what does it matter if Vilma is not gay himself.

  16. jgedgar70 says: Feb 11, 2014 7:10 AM

    “Imagine if he’s the guy next to me and, you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me. How am I supposed to respond?”

    I think we all know what “he looks at me” means in this context. He thinks any gay player on an NFL team will spend all his time in the locker room scoping teammates out, looking for a potential partner.

    This tells us that one thing has not changed from the bounty scandal: Vilma is still an idiot.

  17. ravenswhat says: Feb 11, 2014 7:33 AM

    Would be awesome if Sam took his job as an undrafted guy.

  18. ravenscallywag says: Feb 11, 2014 7:48 AM

    I wonder if Vilma realizes Sam wouldn’t actually be the first gay NFL player, just the first one to acknowledge it publicly. Very good chance in his career, he played on the same team as a gay player who just hid it to make sure they weren’t treated differently.

  19. blakeden says: Feb 11, 2014 8:53 AM

    The NFL needs to send these so called educated men to school. Because someone is gay doesn’t not mean they lurk around staring and groping everyone in sight. Back in the 70’s the 49ers had a gay running back by the name of Kopay, granted he didn’t not come out until after the end of his playing days but there was know locker room concerns. This is 2014 for heavens sake……..Next story

  20. rjbell4 says: Feb 11, 2014 9:19 AM

    blakeden, that’s true; just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they are any more “sexually aggressive” or whatever than someone else. It DOES mean, though, that they are attracted to the sex of the person changing next to them. If there was a women on an NFL team, would they change in the same locker room as the men? Our segregation on locker rooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, etc. is largely based on a presumption of heterosexuality. As we remove that presumption, then as a society shouldn’t we re-examine how we manage those situations? It seems to me that we should have either all private facilities, or all open facilities. Facilities that are segregated by sex make presumptions about sexual behavior.

  21. tmilla19 says: Feb 11, 2014 10:13 AM

    He needed to clarify his comments. His prior comments were dumb. Good job for acknowledging that and making it right.

  22. cursedvikings1998 says: Feb 11, 2014 10:52 AM

    When Vilma first said these things, the media took them out of context, slicing and dicing and making them look worse than they were.

    Reading the entire comments in context, they’re not as bad as I thought they were.

    Jonathan Vilma is still ugly though.

  23. tonychavis says: Feb 11, 2014 11:18 AM

    Well I have to agree with my friend. He said he thinks would be the best fix it for them to have their own dressing room. And I agree with that 100% percent. Dies first of all it’s not about being insecure or any man in NFL them being insecure with himself it’s about a right to privacy with some pervert and looking at themif you ask me we live in a sick sick world now.

  24. vaphinfan says: Feb 11, 2014 11:53 AM

    Don’t see why he’s apologizing. If you have the right to say you support you should have the right to say you don’t support it.

  25. rafterman11 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:53 PM

    LOL for dudes who think they are so awesome that gays wouldn’t be able to take their eyes off them if they got naked.

  26. tonychavis says: Feb 11, 2014 1:09 PM

    He is apologizing cause NFL is making him apologize

  27. tonychavis says: Feb 11, 2014 1:25 PM

    For you guys on here making fun about NFL is looking awesome let me tell you something. Most of them fellas in the NFL are well built

  28. theoneandonlyzooid says: Feb 11, 2014 1:55 PM

    I am heterosexual (not that anybody asked or gives a rat’s *ss) and can state unequivocally that I have met some “well built” (sic) women whom I found vapid, stupid, obnoxious or otherwise unattractive. Just because someone is well-built, or ‘pretty’ doesn’t mean I’m attracted to them.

    …And I do not force my romantic interest upon those whom I find attractive, but who are not attracted to me in return. Do you?

    I suspect that many gay persons are as moral as I am, when it comes to not making unwelcome advances on another person.

  29. theoneandonlyzooid says: Feb 11, 2014 2:02 PM

    To paraphrase and redirect Vilma’s “what if” rhetorical question:

    “What if you happen to be the guy who gets the locker next to Jackie Robinson…and he asks if your sister is single?”

    Bigotry is bigotry.

    Who says Sam would find Vilma attractive? When they first did ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ gays in the military, everybody was outraged. My response? “Great! Another gender to get totally ignored by at the NCO Club! Just what my self-esteem needs!”

    That got me some funny looks from my fellow servicemembers (except the girls, who immediately got that the joke was entirely at my own expense). The point is, it’s not about you; it’s about Michael Sam. What he does with his love-life — what you or I or anybody else in the world does with their love-life — is none of anybody else’s business!

    Now, if he ‘pulls an Incognito’ and starts graphically bragging about his conquests on South Beach, I reserve the right to projectile vomit directly in his face; but, the same is true for Incognito. You’re straight? You’re gay? Great. Now can we get back to the playbook without any further unsolicited information?

  30. realfootballfan says: Feb 11, 2014 9:05 PM

    What I don’t understand about the NFL, this billion dollar business, is why are these men having to shower with each other in group settings like this is some rinky dink high school? Like seriously in 2014? Seems pretty easy to have individual showering rooms for all 46 players in this day and age.

  31. defscottyb says: Feb 12, 2014 5:41 AM

    So why does Vilma have to apologize for saying that again? He was just speaking the truth.

  32. defscottyb says: Feb 12, 2014 5:42 AM

    Don’t ask don’t tell… who cares, just do your job.

  33. 4ever9er says: Feb 12, 2014 3:08 PM

    Two things,
    1. Why doesn’t NFL and College Showers have partitions for privacy

    2. When someone mentions Gay players, why do certain guys always think they become Eye Candy for the Gay Guy?

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