On Monday, lobbyist Jack Burkman announced plans for a bill that would ban gay players from the NFL. On Wednesday, Burkman explained that, when he said gay players should be banned from the NFL, he didn’t really mean gay players should be, you know, banned from the NFL.
Appearing on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Burkman said he simply wants to separate gay and straight players.
“A lot of people say it’s about discrimination or homophobia, it’s not about any of those things,” Burkman said. “We have basic standards of civility and common decency in our society. For instance, you don’t have the cheerleaders go in and take a shower with the football players because we believe that men and women should be separate, for reasons that they’re sexually attracted to each other and other reasons that we all understand. Now, if you separate men and women, doesn’t it make sense that you would separate a gay man and a straight man?
“That’s not discrimination against the straight man or the gay man, that’s simply common decency in the same way you would separate a man and a woman.”
Burkman said his effort doesn’t come from religious concerns, but simply basic common sense that arises from the separation of men and women in showers or locker rooms.
He said that the proposed bill will be released on Wednesday. Burkman explained that it would establish a general ban on gay players unless teams choose to provide separate facilities wherever there would be nudity. He said the bill will include “criminal penalties and severe fines” per violation, with minimum fines of $3 million and maximum fines of $8 million per incident.
Burkman believes he speaks for a silent majority of players and owners and others who share his concerns.
“NFL players are afraid,” Burkman said. “They’re afraid. Just like the owners, just like the Commissioner. They’re all scared of the media. Everybody’s running scared. They’re afraid to tell the truth about this issue. They’re running scared, because they don’t want to take the heat I’m taking. They don’t want to take the heat I’m taking.”
Regardless of whether it makes sense to separate gay men from straight men in the locker room or the showers, the practical impact will be to force any gay NFL players to stay in the closet. Which in turn could spark gay witch hunts by law enforcement.
Burkman, whose brother is gay, remains confident that the bill will become law.