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NFL legend Bruce Smith says he had a gay teammate in the 90s: ‘It wasn’t what we were focused on’

Mishti Ali December 26, 2021
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Bruce Smith taking part in a Hall of Fame panel (Photo by: Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Legendary NFL player Bruce Smith has said that there was a gay player on the Buffalo Bills in the 90s.

The sporting star emphasised his respect for Carl Nassib following his coming out. However, he also told TMZ Sports that a gay NFL player is nothing new.

“We had a gay player in our locker room,” Smith says … “I think it was the mid to late 90s and I think we might have had two but that wasn’t what we were focused on.” 

However, the Hall of Famer stated that he didn’t care about fellow players’ sexual orientation. Instead, their athletic ability came first.

“We were focused on winning games and each and every person that was in that locker room contributing to the goal at hand which was winning football games,” he said. “None of that other stuff mattered. This was about winning football games and trying to be a good person.”

The Bills enjoyed star status through the 90s, making the play-offs eight times and clocking up four Super Bowl appearances.

Smith also said that he understands the cultural significance of Nassib coming out. He also expressed his belief that, as the first out gay NFL player to make the sport’s regular season roster, his openness will have a great impact. 

“Obviously, we like to see the inclusion part. We like to see folks that understand that the world is changing and you have to embrace those that may be a little bit different and it’s okay.”

At the same time, Smith stressed his belief that NFL locker rooms have been more inclusive than their public perception may be. He also rejected the idea that older players wouldn’t have accepted a gay teammate.

“Judge me by my character and judge me by the way I treat people. If we show a little bit more love and compassion in the world, this will be a much better place.”

 

More: Carl Nassib, LGBT athletes, nfl

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