O'Callaghan: NFL Players Know Of Teammates' Sexuality

Ryan O’Callaghan discussed his new memoir and whether an NFL locker room is ready for an openly gay teammate 

The DA Show
August 27, 2019 - 1:01 pm
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Former NFL offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss his new memoir, “My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me, and Ended Up Saving My Life.” In the book, O’Callaghan, who is openly gay, discusses past fears of having his sexuality exposed, as well as his struggles with drug abuse.

He believes that NFL locker rooms would be accepting of an openly gay teammate.

“Yes, I’m 100 percent confident that a locker room would accept an openly gay player,” O’Callaghan said on The DA Show. “I was shocked and impressed by the number of ex-teammates that reached out to me just to show their support. They didn’t realize what I had going on besides football on top of everything else. They just reached out, including guys like Mike Vrabel and Mr. Kraft, who’s been an awesome supporter of mine and my charity since I came out (in 2017). It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I really firmly believe the locker room is ready for an openly gay player.”

O’Callaghan, who played for the Patriots from 2006-08 and the Chiefs from 2009-11, believes the younger generation would be more accepting of a gay teammate than previous generations.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with college teams and discuss concerns of an openly gay guy in the locker room, in the shower, and how guys would react,” O’Callaghan said. “This younger generation that’s making their way up into the NFL is much more open-minded and accepting than guys were even 10 years ago.”

O’Callaghan added that there are gay players in the NFL and that some of their teammates are likely aware of it.

“It’s a brotherhood,” O’Callaghan said. “Guys spend an extreme amount of time with each other – even in college, but the NFL specifically, you spend a lot of time together. Now obviously once you get in the NFL, guys have (marriage), kids, a lot of other things going on. But it really is a brotherhood of sorts and you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in each other’s personal lives. There are plenty of closeted guys that are playing. I’m pretty sure there are some guys actively playing that know of their teammates’ (sexuality) and they’re fine with it, but as far as it goes publicly, no one has stepped up to the plate yet to come out and be that first open gay player.”