New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski doesn't seem like a guy who pauses much, certainly not when it comes to his attempts to reach the end zone. The breakout NFL star has gone on the record saying that he wouldn't reveal a concussion if it meant coming out of game. He has gone viral after being photographed shirtless with a porn star. And, most recently, he stripped down for ESPN The Magazine. The self-described "fiesta," seems all ID. Gronk runs. Gronk scores. Gronk spikes.
Needless to say, Patriots fan and Outsports reporter Cyd Zeigler Jr. was surprised when Gronk paused.
“If that’s how they are, that’s how they are,” Gronkowski eventually said after admitting that he was weary of giving an answer that would get him into trouble. “I mean, we’re teammates so, as long as he’s being a good teammate and being respectful and everything, that’s cool.”
While the Patriots' front office will be glad to hear that Gronkowski values "being a good teammate" over sexual orientation, they have reportedly made it clear that they'd like to hear a bit less about what he thinks about most everything. According to Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe, Patriots' management has told Gronkowski to tone down his antics and statements off the field.
Although Gronkowksi may have been reluctant to answer Zeigler's initial question, perhaps more athletes being put in positions to address these issues will help improve the situation for gay athletes.
U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe recently spoke with Out, telling the magazine that she is a lesbian. The key member of the U.S. women's Olympic team spoke about the difficulties of being a gay athlete in male sports versus female.
“I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out," she said. Still, she added, "In female sports, if you’re gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly. It’s very open and widely supported. For males, it’s not that way at all. It’s sad.”