NFL to Fight Bias Against Gay Football Players

By Dara Sharif

As the NFL gears up for tonight’s draft, word comes that the league has agreed to do more to protect gay players.

In a deal brokered by the New York State attorney general, the NFL will conduct year-round seminars for players, recruits and employees involved with hiring that detail the league’s antidiscrimination policies.

Memos and fliers will outline what constitutes harassment and what to do if someone believes they’ve been harassed. The NFL will hang in all locker rooms fliers that promote the NFL’s values regarding “diversity and inclusion.” It will also be made clear that the policies protect any prospective players and employees.

“Discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation is not consistent with our values and is unacceptable in the National Football League,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, adding that the league has “a long history of valuing diversity and inclusion.”

The NFL’s meetings with the attorney general’s office were voluntary and informal, and were not punitive or a result of any pending charges.

The talks came about after the NFL Combine in February when three prospective players told reporters that unnamed NFL officials had asked them whether they liked girls.

The NFL found no violations to its longstanding antidiscrimination policies. However, more clarity about the policies and enforcement thereof was desired.

But will the move be enough to create a culture of inclusiveness that would support what would truly be historic: an openly gay man in the nation’s most macho sport

Last month, CBS Sports reported that a current gay NFL player is seriously considering coming out within the next few months. With there being no openly gay players in any of the major sports, advocates say he would be the Jackie Robinson of the LGBTQ community.

But in addition to fears of a backlash from his fellow players, an openly gay athlete may have as much to fear from fans themselves—much as Robinson did 50 years ago when he became the first Black player to formally integrate Major League Baseball.

The NFL will need to ensure its players and staff understand the difference between real diversity training and compliance, and that training includes everyone, including white men.

Latest News


Kaiser Permanente Pledges $25,000 To Support Vaccine Access in Native Hawaiian Communities

Originally published at Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii has announced a $25,000 grant to Kula No Na Po‘e Hawai‘i (KULA), a Native Hawaiian beneficiary serving organization that exists to promote cultural, educational, environmental, and health equity for all. With this…

Kaiser Permanente Awards $115,000 in Grants To Support Essential Health Services for Community Organizations in Hawaii Affected by COVID-19

Originally published at Kaiser Permanente is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   Kaiser Permanente of Hawaii has awarded grants, totaling $115,000, to support two vital community organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants will bolster the resiliency of Lanakila Pacific and the American Red Cross of Hawaii,…

Boeing Company Expands Sustainability Alliance With Etihad Airways To Drive Innovation in the Aviation Industry

Originally published at Boeing Company ranked No. 17 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On Nov. 15, Boeing and Etihad Airways announced they will expand the companies’ deep collaboration towards environmental goals. Centered on the airline’s 787 Dreamliner fleet, the new memorandum of understanding…

KPMG on Celebrating Its Military Veteran Workforce

Originally published at KPMG ranked No. 16 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   As we commemorate Veterans Day and honor all who served in the United States Armed Forces, we spotlight Air Force veteran Heather Paquette and Marine Corps veteran Joe Bergeron, two KPMG professionals who are members…