Manti Te’o has recently addressed the embarrassment he faced being a victim of a hoax after finding out that a women he grew close to and formed a relationship with was actually a man. After much public humiliation and many questions answered, the projected first -round draft pick has one question out there. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio said on Dan Patrick’s radio show on Monday that NFL teams want to know if Te’o is gay.
The question has been out there and many want to know the answer to a question Te’o has already answered when asked by Katie Couric. But since then more has came out regarding the hoax, especially the revelation that the woman he supposedly loved was a man.
As Manti Te’o remains focused on answering many questions on the field as he participates in the NFL scouting combine, NFL teams feel the much larger test Te’o will have to face is in the locker room.
Florio says teams “just want to know” because the NFL locker room is a “different world.”
But Florio also points out that teams can’t directly ask the question.
“I don’t think you can ask that question — because of the Dez Bryant question of a few years ago. if you go Katie Couric on Manti Te’o, it’s going to come out that some team, some GM, some coach asked Manti Te’o if he’s gay. Then you’ll have to deal with all the distraction and all the stuff that flows after that.”
Perhaps society is anticipating the first NFL player to come out as gay while playing the game and teams want to be prepared for the eventual distraction surrounding it. In a perfect world, a gay football player will be recognized for his leadership and vision on the field, but for now there is still much ignorance out there, particularly in the locker rooms.
Florio addressed this on the talk show stating:
“They [NFL teams] want to know what issues they may be dealing with down the road. We just assumed that at some point there would be an openly gay player in an NFL locker room and the team would have to work with the realities and make sure that everything’s fine.”
The reality is if and when there is an openly gay player, they are there because they are one of the best athletes and got there on talent. There are many deeper issues surrounding draft picks and players that can and has had a deeper impact on teams and the NFL overall.
Posing the question of Manti Te’o’s sexuality is just one more hurdle for the player to leap in reaching his ultimate goal.