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A homosexual National Football League player is strongly considering revealing that he is gay and attempting to continue his gridiron career, CBS Sports reported on its website Tuesday.
CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman wrote that the player, whose identity his sources did not reveal to him, "is strongly considering coming out publicly within the next few months."
"I'm told this player feels the time is now for someone to take this step," Freeman wrote.
No active player in a major American team sport has been openly gay.
Freeman said information from several current and former players indicated the player in question was less concerned about reaction from within the NFL locker room as from actions by homophobic fans.
A group of current and former NFL players, including free agent linebacker Scott Fujita, have filed a brief with the US Supreme Court as it considers two cases on the thorny issue of same-sex marriage.
"I honestly think the players of the NFL have been ready for an openly gay player for quite some time now," Fujita said in the report.
"Trust me, the coming out of a player would create much bigger waves outside the locker room than inside. The way I've seen the conversation around LGBT issues evolve, especially in the past few years, has been encouraging.
"Guys are more accepting than they used to be. Even those who raise personal objections to homosexuality, some of whom are good friends of mine, would still be able to coexist and accept a gay teammate."
That proved to be an issue at this year's Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver made anti-gay comments five days before his team lost to the Baltimore Ravens in last month's Super Bowl when asked if any members of the team were homosexual.
"I don't do the gay guys man, I don't do that," Culliver said. "Nah, we ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah, can't be in the locker room."
Culliver, who also said gay players should wait 10 years after retiring before revealing their sexuality, later apologized, saying, "It was just something in a joking matter but not what I feel in my heart. I don't have any disrespect of people in other sexualities... I am not that type of guy."
Asked if the NFL was ready for an openly gay player, Culliver said, "I don't know if it is. That would be on that person."
Human Rights Campaign vice president Fred Sainz blasted Culliver for "homophobic" comments that "represented the height of ignorance and the type of homophobic banter that professional athletes rarely use any more."