Recently, Will Leitch wrote a piece for New York magazine in which he wondered when the sports world would have its first openly gay professional athlete. Now, thanks to language in the NFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, we may be one step closer.While most people concentrated on the financial impact of the new CBA, the addition of two words to a player security clause went largely unnoticed.
In the NFL’s previous CBA, the player discrimination clause read as follows:
Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.
In the new CBA, the security clause is largely the same, but with two additional words (in bold):
Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.
But is this just standard 2011 contract language and legalese? Maybe not.
As WideRights.com points out, several people that played key roles in the CBA negotations have a history of supporting gay rights, including New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, players attorney Ted Olson, and owners attorney David Boies. The latter two actually worked together to overturn Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage in California.
While this new language may not make coming out as an openly gay player in the testosterone world of the NFL easier, it does assure those players that the NFL now has the power to discipline other players if discrimination were to occur. And protection may be all those players need.
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