Hall of Famer Deion Sanders said there was someone who was gay on “every team” he was a member of during his 14-year career in the NFL. What’s more, Sanders said the fact a teammate was gay was common knowledge in the locker room. “We all knew, but he was cool,” Sanders said. “That was our boy.”
During his career, Sanders played for Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, before playing his last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and retiring in January 2006.
Sanders made his remarks about the prospect of openly gay player Michael Sam joining the NFL on The Arsenio Hall Show on Thursday night. Sanders told the host that the difference with Michael Sam is not that he’s gay, but that he’s out of the closet. “He’s the first one to come out,” Sanders said. “Let’s get that straight.”
Sanders was one of the first former NFL players to voice his support for Michael Sam when he came out to ESPN on February 10, something that Michael Sam was quick to note on Twitter.
Sanders told Arsenio Hall that he believes – inside and outside the NFL – everyone knows someone who is gay, adding that people should not be judged for their sexual orientation. Sanders continued, “Everybody in the NFL is always talking about football as a family, but when you have the opportunity to really extend and show that you’re a family member, this is the opportunity.”
Sanders simultaneously played Major League Baseball for nine of his 14 years in the NFL on four different MLB teams. But he did not specify whether he was extending his remarks about gay athletes to his time in the MLB.