Former defensive back Troy Vincent said that during his 15-year NFL career he “played with six openly gay players in the locker room,” though he did not offer the names, and added that the individuals were accepted by teammates without issue.
Vincent, recently named executive vice president of football operations for the league, said those teammates had not publicly announced their sexual orientation but that teammates were aware.
“They were players,” he said. “Roommates on the road. We didn’t treat them any differently.
“We played together, practiced together, won football games together.”
Vincent made his comments at a round-table discussion in New York on Thursday between NFL officials and members of the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Part of that discussion focused on Michael Sam, the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year who announced after his career at the University of Missouri in February that he was gay. After the NFL draft, Sam is expected to become the first publicly gay individual to play in the NFL.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the session that the league is trying to ensure that behavior in the locker room is appropriate.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion with our clubs, with our players, with our personnel, to make sure we provide the best possible environment, professional environment, where everybody has the opportunity to play,” he said.
“And that’s what Michael Sam wants.... We’re going to make sure we provide that kind of opportunity for him.”
Vincent, a former president of the NFL Players Assn., played for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins from 1992 to 2006.