Feb 2, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward during the USA Network special NFL Characters Unite press conference at the Super Bowl XLVI media center at the J.W. Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Hines Ward says football isn't ready for a gay player


After NBA player Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete in the four major sports to announce that he was gay, several athletes around the country have shared their opinions on the topic – a pair of former Pittsburgh Steelers among them.

For the most part, the opinions regarding Collins’ admission were positive among his peers, but there were a few delicate situations.

November 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Network television analyst and Pittsburgh Steelers former receiver Hines Ward reacts on the field before the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace’s insensitive comments regarding the topic made headlines Monday afternoon, but he wasn’t the only one to share his opinion.

After reading what Wallace had to say on his Twitter account, it begs the question of if the NFL could handle an openly gay player.

Another former Steeler says no way.

In a time where multiple media outlets, fans and maybe even some players seem to be rooting for a gay player to come out, former Steelers’ wide receiver and current  NBC analyst Hines Ward feels it wouldn’t be a good idea.

“I don’t think football is ready, there’s too many guys in the locker room and, you know, guys play around too much,” Ward told Erik Kuselias earlier today on NBC Sports Radio.

Although Ward remains optimistic that a player will decide otherwise.

“Hopefully one guy comes out of the closet and [will] be comfortable with himself,” Ward said.  “I don’t have anything against a gay football player or a gay person period so if he does, he has support from me.  I want people to live their lives for who they are and don’t have to hide behind closed doors to do that.”

Being the fact that no NFL player to this point has had the courage to do what Collins did, sort of backs up Ward’s point that the NFL may not be ready for that.

But the chances are there have already been quite a few of gay players who have competed in the NFL.

It’s a little bit funny that the same guy who was voted the NFL’s dirtiest player in 2009 is lecturing the public on social morals, but that is what it is.

Ward and the rest of the NFL may not feel like they are ready to hear that they have a gay player in their locker room, but that time is likely coming soon.

One day soon an NFL player will do what Collins did on Monday.

Hopefully when that happens, we won’t feel the need to make it that big of a story, as hopefully it will be something that is not only expected, but accepted.

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