Former college football linebackers tell of atmosphere of homophobia while playing ….

Inside Higher Education has a comprehensive look at a research study focusing on seven former college football linebackers, all of whom identify as “non-straight,” and how awful their experiences were while playing.

The study by Lawrence J. Mrozek and Elizabeth Burns found:

When players were found out, they could become targets. One former student who witnessed a couple of people being outed said that when his team found out a player was gay, “they became like a pariah; they had to be gotten rid of.”

In an interview with Mrozek, he described how this drove one player to self-destruction. “Other members of the team found out, and what they basically did, they just started beating the crap out of him whenever they could catch him alone,” he said. “He was so upset about it he ended up – he was actually found somewhere outside of town – because he didn’t want to play football and he didn’t want to tell his parents and, I know it was deliberate…. He mangled up his legs so that he couldn’t play.”

Six of the seven played on BCS-level teams within the past 15 years. All of them asked for anonymity since they still did not want their former teammates to know they were gay. Mrozek’s conclusion is that while attitudes have changed for the better for gays in sports, he said that was not true for football. deets here

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