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Sports

March 5, 2013

Would the NFL accept a gay football player?

Mike Florio reported last week that NFL teams wanted to know during combine interviews if Manti Te’o is gay. University of Colorado tight end Nick Casa reported at the combine: “They (NFL Teams) ask you like, ‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ Are you married?’ Do you like girls?”

Katie Couric asked Manti Te’o if her was gay.

What if Te’o answered yes?

And what if over the past few years hanging out with his Notre Dame teammates it’d been noticed and commented on that they had never seen Manti “hook up” with any of the dozens of Irish coeds who surround him?

Would it be so surprising that, to deflect the attention, he’d hang a picture of some attractive female in his locker and pretend she was his girlfriend who went to Stanford? And what if the pain of living with that lie was so great that, at the beginning of this year, in order to play the season with a clear conscience, Te’o killed the lie and had his mythical girlfriend die?

What if this were true?

Would we have the courage to look at our collective souls and conscience and condemn ourselves for the perverse media frenzy and public insatiability to crucify a young man who quite possibly could be caught in the cross hairs of the most horrific emotional mine field imaginable?

A couple of years ago while out to dinner with my wife, I ran into an old college baseball teammate, who I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. He was with a group of guys and slipped over to say hello to me. We talked for a while, and a few months later met up at a Red Sox game.

We got to talking about the past 20 years and he mentioned that he was gay and asked if I suspected it at the restaurant. I told him that I had thought it possible, but I never thought so in college. We got to talking about how unenlightened our college years were and he talked about the difficulty of sheltering his identity from us.

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