Jonathan Vilma apologizes for recent remarks about openly gay players

Two weeks ago, in the run-up to Super Bowl North Jersey, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma—who spent four seasons with the Jets after they took him with the 12th pick of the 2004 draft—told the NFL Network he didn't think an openly gay NFL player would be accepted in the locker room.

Monday, just one day after Missouri defensive end Michael Sam became the first openly gay draft prospect, Vilma walked it all back in an interview with CNN.
Here's what Vilma initially told the NFL Network's Andrea Kremer, per

"I think that he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted. I don't want people to just naturally assume, like, 'Oh, we're all homophobic.' That's really not the case. Imagine if he's the guy next to me and, you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me.

"How am I supposed to respond?"

But Monday night on CNN's AC360, Vilma clarified what he was trying to say. More from

"It was a poor illustration of the example I was trying to give on the context, so I do apologize for that I was trying to explain that whenever you have change into something that's been set in stone for so long, something that's been going for so long, that change always comes with a little resistance.

"Some people grew up with or without the acceptance of gays within their families. You have a lot of different elements within the locker room that you just don't see right now. Me being on the inside for 10 years, inside the locker room, I've been around that.

"And it's not to say that the locker rooms are bad, it's to say that there are going to be people that accept it willingly as soon as he comes in, welcome him with open arms, and then unfortunately, there will be some, I'm about 99 percent sure the minority, will say, well, they're not comfortable with that yet, they don't know how to respond to that. That's just what's going to happen in the first whatever, the first year, two years. When have more players like Michael Sam coming out and saying that they're gay, the transition will be a lot smoother."

As also noted, Vilma had once tweeted in 2011 that "[g]rown men should NOT hav female tendencies. Period." He later crafted a half-hearted explanation to say he wasn't talking about gay men.

Vilma's clarification on AC360 was far more thoughtful.

He went on to say cite his hypothetical shower scenario as something he's never experienced before, only to add this about showering with an openly gay teammate: "I don't see anything wrong with it. You have other players that may, you have other players that may not." Vilma also said he would be "A-OK with" having a gay teammate, noting that "it doesn't bother me at all."

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