NEWS FLASH: There have been some professional athletes in the past (other than guys like Jason Collins) who have been gay. Some of their teammates have known about it; others have stayed in the closet and refused to let their teammates into their world. But whether you want to believe it or not, there have been gay pro athletes—lots and lots of gay pro athletes—that have participated in all sports in the past. It's a fact.
With that in mind, this next news story shouldn't really be news. But because people still refuse to believe everything that we just mentioned in the paragraph above, it's making the rounds right now and shocking some people. That "news" is that two members—or, better yet, at least two members—of the 1993 Houston Oilers were gay. It sounds like they were fairly open about it and let their teammates know about it, and guess what? Most of their teammates really didn't care about it.
We know all of this because the Houston Chronicle is going to publish a story about the 1993 Houston Oilers on Sunday—that 1993 team was the team that infamously lost a playoff game to the Buffalo Bills after leading 28-3 at halftime—and, while conducting interviews for the story, the Chronicle discovered that the '93 Oilers had at least two gay players on the team. The Chronicle doesn't identify those players in the story, but they do provide some quotes from several guys on the team.
"Those guys that we're talking about were unbelievable teammates," former Oilers linebacker Lamar Lathon told the Chronicle. "And if you want to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys."
"Everybody knew certain guys [were gay]," former Oilers cornerback Cris Dishman added.
And yet, that Oilers team was still incredibly cohesive, still had lots of success, and is still remembered in the Houston area. Even though, you know, they had a couple of gay players on the team. Go figure! (Sidebar: We understand why it hasn't happened, but it's still amazing that, in this day and age, there are no openly gay players in the NFL.)
Go read the Houston Chronicle piece over here now. It's interesting to hear the guys who played for the Oilers in '93 talking about what it was like to be a part of that team.
[via Houston Chronicle]