DALLAS, TX (CBS St. Louis) – Everybody has an opinion. We may agree with some, we may disagree with some. There is no law that states everyone must approve every type of behavior. People are still entitled to their own feelings.
Sam just finished up his collegiate career at the University of Missouri. He entered the NFL Draft and has publicly come out as gay. If he were to be drafted and signed to an NFL team, he would then become the first active NFL player to have made his homosexuality public.
“If he can make it through that first initial wave. If he can get out there – he doesn’t need to say anything,” Ellis told ESPN Dallas when asked what Sam first needs to do when he goes to a team. “He needs to go in there, close his mouth and play football to let the guys know that, ‘Hey if you guys give me a chance to welcome me into this fraternity of this football team, I can contribute and help us win football game.’ That’s going to be his best approach in my opinion.”
“If he pats somebody on the butt – I hope ESPN don’t get mad and never have me back – but if he pats somebody on the butt, how is that to be received? If he does that how is that to be received? If he said, ‘Come on baby’? I called guys baby all the time on the football field, but when you have taken a stand and went public and say that, ‘I am gay,’ how is that going to be received? I’ve seen guys, I had guys on the Dallas Cowboys football team – I won’t mention names – who did not want you to pat them on their butt. So God forbid if you pat one of those guys on the butt it’s going to be a major problem,” Ellis went on to say.
“I think it would be totally different than what it is right now,” Ellis answered when asked how his team would react to playing with Michael Sam. “I think those years made a lot of difference in the current day NFL. But still, a universal rule in my opinion is that it’s going to affect the football team. I don’t care how we look at this; it’s going to affect the football team. And one of the biggest reasons why it’s going to affect the football team, he’s not a proven player. Teams and guys have a lot of tendency to accept a lot of things if they feel like, ‘Nobody done like him, but nobody can do what he can do.’ If it’s your quarterback and he’s playing like Peyton Manning you’re going to have to find a way to say, ‘We’re going to overlook that because we’re trying to win football games.’ But when you’re coming in as an unproven rookie, you won’t have that card to pull because you’re unproven. He has to be careful. He has to come in, close his mouth. It should’ve never came out. I know half the people will say, ‘Why not?’ Because it hurts his opportunity to be welcome into a football club.”
Ellis was asked another tough question during the interview; would he be uncomfortable playing with a gay player? “I would, I would,” he answered. “People who’ve never been in an NFL shower room, not just locker room, it’s a open room. We don’t have private curtains. It’s just an open-form shower, so everybody sees each other in the nude. Well if you’re looking at men as if you’re looking at women or vice versa, how are those guys to receive that? I don’t know. I don’t know how they will receive that. But I do know it would be a situation where I would go to the coach and try to work something out to say, ‘Obviously this is going to be a problem. What can we do? The kid can help us play, can help us win football games. We need him on the team. But this situation right here, we need to do something.”
Ellis played 12 seasons in the National Football League, 11 with the Cowboys, and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2007.