A player currently on the roster of a National Football League team is considering disclosing he is gay, according to a CBSSports.com report that cites the athlete's fear of homophobic backlash for not coming out yet.
Mike Freeman, a writer for CBSSports.com, wrote about the unidentified player after a number of interviews over several weeks with current and former players, according to Fox News. The player, Freeman wrote, fears homophobic fan reaction.
Freeman's article illustrates how homosexuality has affected the NFL just as it has other professional sports. Ahead of the Super Bowl in February, San Francisco 49ers' defensive back Chris Culliver drew public ire for making homophobic comments.
"I don't do the guys. I don't do that," Chris Culliver said. "We don't have any gays on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."
A former player, Scott Fujita, told Freeman that he believes players in the NFL are ready for an openly gay player.
"Trust me, the coming out of a player would create much bigger waves outside the locker room than inside," he said.
Freeman's report is making headlines just as the U.S. Supreme Court hears opening arguments challenging California's ban on gay marriage. The outcome of the case is closely watched as it could set a national precedent.
In the case, lawyers representing one lesbian and one gay couple from California will argue before the nine Supreme Court justices to strike down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages and to declare that gay couples can marry nationwide.
Lawyers representing supporters of the California ban, known as Proposition 8, will argue that the court should not override the democratic process. The justices' decision could in fact overturn every state constitutional provision and law banning same-sex marriages.