The New York Giants’ locker room might not be the best place for Michael Sam.
Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas said Tuesday that Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft prospect, might not be accepted on an NFL team. Thomas said an NFL locker room is different than a typical workplace.
“I think society is ready for it, and America’s ready for it, but I don’t think the NFL is,” Thomas told ESPN.com. “As a player, all you want to know is if he can play. That’s on the field. But in the locker room, it’s different. There’s a lot of talk and joking around, and some guys walk around completely naked all the time, and they might not want to do that anymore. When you add that situation to the mix, I think it’s going to make some people uncomfortable.
“Things are changing, and certain change is inevitable. We have to look at him like a brother and can’t treat him any different. But that could be difficult for some people, just the way our locker rooms work.”
Count “can’t walk around naked” among the strangest excuses for not wanting a gay teammate. Thomas also said there would be a lot of pressure on Sam because of the media scrutiny he would bring to an NFL team.
“The attention on him is going to bring attention to the team — unwanted attention, questions that the players, the coaches, the whole organization is going to have to answer — and that’s a lot for one player to carry by himself,” Thomas said.
The old-school mentality of the NFL will have to change eventually.