The League

Roman Oben
Retired Football Player

Roman Oben

Played 12 years as a tackle in the NFL

Not in the Locker Room


This question brings me back to 2002, when ESPN aired a mini-series called "Playmakers." During that harsh, fictitious depiction of any and every problem that could happen on a pro football team, the gay player in the locker room scenario was introduced.

Because the pro football locker room setting represents the ultimate macho, homophobic environment, I'm not sure one can accurately compare that environment with the traditional work setting.

From high school to college and every pro team I've played on, there were always a few guys who were suspected of having an alternative lifestyle. Based on the fear of being chastised, harassed and possibly tormented by peers, I strongly believe the NFL locker room is not a conducive environment for a football player to be open about his homosexuality.


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By Roman Oben  |  June 17, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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If it's not challenged, how will it change?

Posted by: AngloAm | June 17, 2009 4:42 PM

Fear paves the way to ignorance and hatred. Perhaps it is time for the locker room to be open to all; perhaps it is time to stop the "Heterosexuals Only" imaginary signage and accept one another for what we can bring to the game not what sexual orientation one has. Players need to learn that Homosexuals do not hit on every guy they meet, as not all men are attractive to them; and furthermore, like any other group they are looking for LOVE not shower sex with random individuals.

Posted by: pcca | June 17, 2009 4:55 PM

Lord, I am amazed at how intolerant these professional athletes are? Where do these outdated, backwards nearly ignorant ideas come from? I am certain there are gay professional football players playing right now, as I write this. You read these comments and the stereotype of the big, dumb, athlete is alive and well.

Posted by: ilg123 | June 17, 2009 6:29 PM

This is garbage. Why should anyone care what a bunch of overpaid, whiny athletes think about anything? The fact is, they're paid to play a freakin' game, for entertainment, not to save the world. If they have a gay teammate and they feel they can't deal with it, then they're free to quit football and get a job where they're actually making a contribution to society.

Posted by: 7900rmc | June 17, 2009 6:31 PM

no snapping towels! i spent three days in hospital with a clot on my retina. a few years later my eye dr. and family were slaughtered by a santa cruz charlie manson wanna bee. soo, let's face it-- snapping towels (and maybe taribins, i.e. turtles) are more of a risk then ambidexterous jocks. GO TROJANS.

Posted by: thealaskan | June 17, 2009 7:05 PM

So why can't those players change? Do they really need the misogyny and homophobia to keep together and be a team? What's that? Can they only define themselves as tough men by having people to pick on? That's not very tough, that's not real strength.

Posted by: asoders22 | June 17, 2009 11:05 PM

Big words from the internet community here. It's nice and easy to say "who cares about what the overpaid athletes think" or "let's open the locker room". I'm sure that's a source of great comfort to the gay athlete scared to come out in a NFL locker room. Don't worry about your career, your livelihood: a few people out there really, really agree with you! I mean, be real. Roman's not hating, he's just right.

Posted by: malph | June 17, 2009 11:07 PM

Gay athletes have to have their own locker room and facilities because their presence as people who desire the same gender would be similar to men and women sharing lockers and showers, changing, getting treatments, etc all next to each other, except the gay man is the one doing all the wanting.
As well, gay sexual conduct CAN be encouraged amongst men resulting in increased rates of disease and gay sex, as evident in the increase in gay sexual conducted in prisons.
Those advocating openly gay athletes are part of a socetial deconstructivism of every male hetero identity structure in the culture, from Boy Scouts, to father figures, to athletes. Its a warped sense of ideological purism which defies moral conduct, defies the legitimacy of a heterosexual male role model that is not emasculated, castrated, or subjugated to the deviations of sexual perversions.

Posted by: Usama1 | June 18, 2009 3:32 AM

I imagine that gays are not wanted in the locker room because it would affect the "camaraderie" of the shower! And what big football player would want another guy staring at his "buddy?" In gay circles the NFL is sometimes called the National F** League because we know what happens in those showers. Right Roman? There's a lot of soap dropping!!!

Posted by: bob2davis | June 18, 2009 10:33 AM

Are you kidding? Gays playing football? I think they should stick to fashion and advertising. It's an alpha male sport. If you are gonna be open about it... do gymnastics, diving or some other sport gay friendly sport. Trust me, it's for their own good.

Posted by: shalshah | June 21, 2009 12:12 AM

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