There has yet to be an openly gay individual to play in the NFL. However, according to former defensive back Troy Vincent, there have been plenty to compete in the league over the years.
While speaking to a group of sports editors in an annual conference, Vincent, who now holds the title of senior Vice President of player engagement, revealed that gay players competing in the NFL is nothing new. In fact, Vincent said that he played with at least six teammates who were openly gay within the locker room, but never opted to announce their sexual orientation publicly at the time.
This news coming at a point when former Missouri standout Michael Sam is trying to become the first publicly gay player in the league.
"I think what has changed over the years is now that it has become public," Vincent said Thursday. "In my 15 years in the NFL, I played with six openly gay players in the locker room. It's a workplace and it's up to those individuals to disclose their sexual orientation. We've also been working alongside Michael's team, as a prospect and just preparing him for what life is like an NFL player. It's nothing new for the players inside the locker room, but I think the player addressing that publicly is something we're working on."
Vincent didn't divulge any names as to who these players were. But he did make sure to let reporters know that there were no issues in the locker room because of it.
"Yes, it worked," Vincent said. "We won many football games. They were players. We didn't see them as anything different. We were in the locker room together, we traveled together, they were roommates on the road together. We just looked at them as players. We didn't treat them any different and I don't think the players now look at them any differently."
The 43-year-old Vincent played for four different franchises over the course of his 15-year pro career. He began his journey with the Miami Dolphins after being taken 7th overall in the 1992 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. The New Jersey native earned five Pro Bowl selections and was named Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2002. In 2012, he was inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame.
Via USA TODAY