I'm a middle-aged white guy. I'm a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican. I'm also a season ticket holder for the Houston Texans, and have been since the team's first season. I'm a teacher with two former students playing in the NFL. So let me be very clear about your announcement regarding your sexual orientation -- I don't care.
Let me repeat -- I DON'T CARE!
If you are on the roster of an NFL franchise this fall, I'll applaud you. But it won't be because you are gay. It will be for precisely the same reason I applaud those two former students -- it will because you have striven for excellence and achieved it when only a handful of those who play the game do so. And make no mistake about it; I'll be pulling for you every bit as much I have for the couple dozen former students who have played college ball, most of whom didn't make it.
But understand, the reason I will be pulling for you -- it is because I love seeing that dream fulfilled on any given Sunday. It's because I know you have within you the ability to make a difference. Maybe you will be the sort of guy who enters the league with the sort of comment that was made by one of my former students -- “I’ve never been to an NFL game. The first game will be in uniform.” -- and be a shining example to kids who grew up in the direst of circumstances. Maybe you will be like my other student -- whose philanthropic efforts have earned him great praise around the league. Or maybe you will be something else -- I don't know. But what I hope you are not is "the gay football player". Instead, be a football player who just so happens to be gay.
Because let's be honest -- it is your on-field play that matters in terms of your being a player in the NFL, not your off-field play. Fortunately, you've shown that you can live that reality with how you and your teammates handled the issue of your sexual orientation at Mizzou. Please do that in the NFL -- don't feel the need to be the poster boy for "gay" or the in your face activist. Be a player -- be the best player you can be. Let all of us admire you -- straight or gay -- admire you for that.
And by the way -- I'm secretly hoping that you end up being drafted by your hometown team, the Houston Texans. After all, I want to cheer you on in person -- another hometown boy who made good. The rest is completely irrelevant to most of us out here.