Donte Stallworth: ‘I was very homophobic’

July 1, 2013
(Carolyn Kaster/AP)
(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Redskins wide receiver Donte Stallworth is one of a handful of NFL players who have agreed to have their likeness featured on one of the NFL’s LGBT Pride shirts. But he wasn’t always gay-friendly, and when a recent episode of Outside the Lines focused on gay athletes, he opened up about it.

“I was very homophopic,” said Stallworth. “I couldn’t even be in the same room with a gay man, at all.

“I’m ashamed to tell it, but when I was younger I was leaving the club. I was maybe 24-years old. I was leaving the club and there was a gay club letting out. And I walked out of there yelling gay slurs for no reason.”

Stallworth said that it took some hardships in his own life to help him change his mind.

“I’ve experienced hate because of me for a number of reason,” he explained. “For the color of my skin, or having money. For my accident with my DUI and manslaughter four or five years ago. When I started to look back on that, and the hate that I got from all those people and I looked at it, like, you know what? That’s the same thing I’m doing towards gays. So I can’t be upset with these people if I’m being a bigot and acting that same way.”

There isn’t currently an openly gay player in the NFL, and although he has an open mind, Stallworth said that won’t be the case with everyone if a player chooses to come out while active.

“In all honesty, there will be issues,” he said. “Guys just talking trash behind your back, talking about you. Guys, maybe not wanting to shower when that person’s in the shower. For someone who is very ignorant towards the gay community, I think it would be very difficult for someone to be able to get into the shower at the same time.”

The full episode is here, and it includes viewpoints from both sides of the issue.

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Dan Steinberg · July 1, 2013

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