First Openly Gay NFL Player Could 'Gain Millions' for Team


"His eyes are on the prize, and the prize is getting into the NFL," he said.

That prize could mean major money for whichever team takes him on. As the first openly gay player in the NFL, Gendreau's brand could create a splash for a big-league team.

"There are a lot of people in our country, that are young or old, that are looking for someone like Alan to smile about and be proud of," Zeigler said. "There is money to be made off Alan -- or any gay athlete.

"Whatever team signs him, they'll gain millions. Every poll shows you where this country sits on this issue. Jersey sales, ticket sales, people are going to spend their money. People say, 'whatever team you end up on, I'll be the first to buy your jersey,'" he said.

It was only a few years ago that the general feeling around the NFL was that a gay player would be shunned.

"Now we're talking something entirely different -- that if someone were to come out, they'd make millions," Bragman said. "They always said if someone came out, it would be disruptive. A week before the Super Bowl, the story was that homophobia was what was being disruptive."

Bragman refers to the controversial comment by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver on a radio show in January. During a Super Bowl media day interview, Culliver said: ''Ain't got no gay people on the team. They've got to get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff ... Can't be ... in the locker room, nah,'' he said. ''You've got to come out 10 years later after that.''

Culiver later apologized for the remarks.

Pablo Torre, a senior writer at ESPN, told said that in some regions of the U.S. a gay player would be widely accepted, but in others, he might still cause commotion.

"It's not a non-factor," he said. "There are still some areas, vestibules of suspicion, cultural beliefs, that makes sports the fortress against being out and gay at this time. I don't think we're there all the way, we've made strides, and with every passing year get closer."

Gendreau's chances as the first openly gay man in the NFL may be buoyed by his position as kicker, which as Zeigler says "plays to a stereotype," as the kicker is rarely subjected to brute contact on the field. Bragman agrees.

"It's probably the most protected position on the team, in terms of getting the tar beat out of you," he said. "If it were a running back, people could take cheap shots, people say. I think as a kicker it's probably a little better, in some ways. "

Until his number comes up, Gendreau will be spending his off season on his presentation, working out, and getting into the best shape of his life. He will need to be ready for the next steps: team workouts, training camp, and organized team activities. All of this must come before any potential role as a pioneer.

"To me this is a football story now," Zeigler said. "He's openly gay. Alan has to bust his butt, and get noticed for his football skills. Everything about the locker room is secondary … All the coach cares about is winning football."

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