At least two members of the 1993 Houston Oilers were gay and apparently didn't try too hard to hide it from the rest of the team.
“Everybody knew certain guys" were gay, former cornerback Cris Dishman told the Houston Chronicle. "Everybody speculated and people used to see these two guys come in by themselves. They’d leave at lunchtime and then come back.”
But Dishman added that both players were valued for their contributions on the field and that showering with them around was "no big deal."
Former linebacker Lamar Lathon agreed.
“Listen, those guys that we’re talking about were unbelievable teammates. And if you wanted to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys,” Lathon said. “And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that things were not exactly right. But guess what? When they strapped the pads on and got on the field, man, we were going to war with these guys because they were unbelievable.”
Those comments, which appeared in an online tease for a Chronicle article that will run Sunday on the last Oilers team ever to make the playoffs, are encouraging in that they show a level of tolerance that many fear might not exist in the locker room culture.
No active player in any of the four major U.S. sports has come out as gay. Basketball player Jason Collins made such a revelation during the off-season but he is still a free agent who has yet to play for an NBA team during the 2013-14 season.
The online preview of the Chronicle article does not say whether the full article will name the purportedly gay Oilers ex-players.