A current NFL player is contemplating coming out to the public in the next few months in hopes that the day will come when an openly gay athlete can play professional football without his sexuality being an issue.
Mike Freeman, a writer for CBSSports.com, wrote about the unnamed player after interviews over "several weeks with current and former players." The player is only holding back out of fear of homophobic fan reaction, according to Freeman.
News of the player comes as the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments challenging California's ban on gay marriage, in a historic case that could have sweeping implications for all states.
In that case, lawyers representing one lesbian and one gay couple from California will try to persuade the nine Supreme Court justices to strike down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages and to declare that gay couples can marry nationwide.
Lawyers representing supporters of the California ban, known as Proposition 8, will argue that the court should not override the democratic process and impose a judicial solution that would redefine marriage in the some 40 states that do not allow same-sex couples to wed.
The case has the potential to be monumental, as the justices could, if they choose to rule broadly, overturn every state constitutional provision and law banning same-sex marriages.
Freeman's article illustrates how homosexuality has become something of an issue in the NFL. Just this year, a San Francisco 49ers defensive back was widely criticized for what was perceived as homophobic comments before the Super Bowl.
"I don't do the guys. I don't do that," Chris Culliver said. "We don't have any gays on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."
The 49ers quickly distanced themselves from Culliver.
A former player, Scott Fujita, told Freeman that he believes players in the NFL are ready for an openly gay player.
"Trust me, the coming out of a player would create much bigger waves outside the locker room than inside," he said.