Thursday, October 8, 2009

The NFL's Scott Fujita Speaks Out for GLBT Rights

The following interview comes from Dave Zirin's column at The Huffington Post. In it, Dave talks with Scott Fujita, a star linebacker for the unbeaten New Orleans Saints. He is also a 2001 graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in political science. In addition to playing for the Saints, he is also is someone proudly raising his family in post-Katrina New Orleans. In the following interview, Scott speaks out about why he is supporting the October 11th National Equality March for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights in Washington DC.

Dave Zirin:
Scott, you made the decision to lend your name and endorse the National Equality March. Why did you choose to do that?

Scott Fujita: I think for me it was a cause that I truly believe in. By in large in this country the issue of gay rights and equality should be past the point of debate. Really, there should be no debate anymore. For me, in my small platform as a professional football player, I understand that my time in the spotlight is probably limited. The more times you have to lend your name to a cause you believe in, you should do that.

DZ: You've said to me in previous discussions that one of the reasons why this issue really resonates with you is because of the issue of adoption, and who gets to adopt children in the United States. Can you speak about that?

SF: A year ago or two years ago, I remember reading about an initiative that was proposed in the state of Arkansas. It was some kind of measure that was aimed at preventing adoptions by single parents. Now, the way I read that and the way that I translated that language was that only heterosexual, married couples could adopt children. As an adopted child that really bothered me. I asked myself, what that is really saying is that the concern with one's sexual orientation or one's sexual preference outweighs what's really important, and that's finding safe homes for children, for our children. It's also saying that we'd rather have kids bounce around from foster home to foster home throughout the course of their childhood, than end up in a permanent home, where the parent, whether that person's single or not, gay or straight. Either way, it doesn't matter. It's a home that's going to be provided for a kid who desperately needs a home. As an adopted child, that measure really bothered me. It just boggles my mind because good, loving homes for any child are the most important thing.

DZ: Now Scott, what makes your stance newsworthy is that people don't really think of the National Football League as a gay friendly place. How present is homophobia in the locker room on a day in and day out basis?

SF: You know people do call it homophobia, and even that term alone is interesting to me. Because I don't even know how they call it homophobia, because that's a fear of the same. It's more heterophobia. It's a fear of something different from yourself. Is there still some of that in the locker room? Absolutely. People tell me, hey, that's pretty courageous. You come out in favor of gay rights. I don't think it's that courageous. I think I have an opinion, that I wish was shared by everybody, but I honestly believe that it's shared by more [football players] than we know because a lot of people just won't speak out about it. I'm hoping that what [Baltimore Ravens linebacker] Brendon [Ayanbadejo] did, and things like what I'm doing, speaking out a little bit, hopefully more people will step up and acknowledge the fact that hey, its ok to talk about this. Just because I'm in favor of gay rights doesn't mean that I'm gay or doesn't mean I'm some kind of "sissy" or something. That's the language that you hear in locker rooms. I know these guys well. I know for the most part, guys are a lot more tolerant than they get credit for but they're not comfortable yet speaking out about it. It's going to come in time. By in large, it's an opinion that's shared by more people than are realized. I just wish it was shared by everybody.

To continue reading Dave's interview with Scott Fujita, click here.

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