NFL adds “sexual orientation” to anti-discrimination language

Too bad the NFL wasn’t super public about this change, but glad to see the news nonetheless. Amanda Terkel reports:

The NFL has removed a hurdle for professional football players who may be thinking of coming out as gay, banning discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”

The new language was quietly put into the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, ratified by the players on Aug. 4, and first noticed by Pete Olsen at Wide Rights.

The contract reads: “Section 1. No Discrimination: There will be no discrimination in any form against any player by the Management Council, any Club or by the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA.”

Terkel also notes that there are no openly gay professional sports player in football, basketball, baseball or hockey — every player that has come out did after they left their respective leagues. But while the purpose of this addition is about protection, it also gives me some hope that major league sports have the ability to evolve and transform sports culture from a space (and reputation) of toxic masculinity, homophobia and rampant sexism into one of respect and inclusiveness. We’ve seen indications of it in players and teams — hopefully more will follow suit.

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