LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — At a time when same-sex marriage and open homosexuality are hot-button issues with recent rulings by the Supreme Court and NBA player Jason Collins coming out of the closet, Washington Redskins wide receiver Donté Stallworth says he’s had a change of heart.
“I was very homophopic,” he told ESPN, per The Washington Post. “I couldn’t even be in the same room with a gay man, at all.”
Stallworth, 32, says his own life experiences changed the way he looked at homosexuality and the LGBT community’s campaign for equality.
“I’ve experienced hate because of me for a number of reasons,” Stallworth said. “For the color of my skin, or having money. For my accident with my DUI and manslaughter four or five years ago. When I started to look back on that, and the hate that I got from all those people and I looked at it, like, you know what? That’s the same thing I’m doing towards gays. So I can’t be upset with these people if I’m being a bigot and acting that same way.”
The veteran receiver, who is attempting to salvage his NFL career following a serious offseason hot air balloon accident and disappointing year with the New England Patriots, is one of 12 players to have their name featured on a LGBT Pride t-shirt being sold by the NFLPA.
Although no NFL player has followed Collins’ footsteps, many feel it is still just a matter of time. And when that time comes, Stallworth does foresee some issues and potential bigotry occurring in the locker room.
“Guys just talking trash behind your back, talking about you. Guys, maybe not wanting to shower when that person’s in the shower,” he said. “For someone who is very ignorant towards the gay community, I think it would be very difficult for someone to be able to get into the shower at the same time.”