SBD/June 19, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Rookie Symposium Will Feature Speakers On Sexual Orientation Issues

NFL Chief Diversity Officer Robert Gulliver yesterday said that the NFL Rookie Symposium for the first time "will include speakers on the issue of sexual orientation," according to Jane McManus of ESPN N.Y. Gulliver said that the league plans to have former NFLers "speak about the possibility of having a gay teammate, and how to talk about these issues publicly." He added that the NFL "isn't anticipating one of its own players is on the verge of coming out, but in the wake of Jason Collins' decision to come out to Sports Illustrated in April, sports leagues are preparing players with the goal of having a harassment-free work place." Athlete Ally, GLAAD and You Can Play are the three groups that the league is "consulting on the segment." Athlete Ally Founder Hudson Taylor said that the NBA is "doing something similar with its rookie class" (, 6/18). Meanwhile, ESPN's Tony Reali noted Bengals CB Adam "Pacman" Jones again is planning to address the rookies at the symposium on "what not to do" off the field. ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said the NFL is bringing in Jones not as a "role model" but rather "as a cautionary tale" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/18). WNBC-NBC's Scott Stanford said Jones speaking a the symposium is "like Tiger Woods talking at an abstinence convention" ("The Crossover With Michelle Beadle," NBC Sports Network, 6/18).

THE BIG SMOKE?'s Mike Freeman cited an unidentified Jaguars player as saying that the team is "basically preparing for the Jaguars to play multiple games in London in the future." But Jags TE Marcedes Lewis said multiple games in the city "would be highly stressful for a team." Lewis: "It would disrupt a big part of your season. There would be a competitive disadvantage for a team that did that. What you would end up doing is just changing a lot of what you do so you're mentally ready. But playing two games in London would be pretty rough for any team no matter what you try to do.” Freeman wrote, "Players and teams are increasingly examining the metrics of this and I can't find any player or coach who privately says they like the idea. The belief is that any team playing in London is at a disadvantage" (, 6/18).
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