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Rob Gronkowski: Gay teammate would be 'another teammate and friend'

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said he'd be OK with a gay teammate. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images) Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said he'd be OK with a gay teammate. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Amid reports of a gay, active NFL player "strongly considering" coming out publicly, New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski suggested he'd be fine if one of his teammates was gay.

"You've got to accept the player. Everyone has their own ways to live their life and as long as he's respecting me, keeping distance, respecting myself, I'll respect him back," he told ESPN Radio New York's Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on Wednesday.

"If he's being a great teammate and he's a guy on the field doing a great job, well then you've got nothing to complain about. He's another teammate and another friend."

No active NFL player has publicly revealed he is gay, but CBS' Mike Freeman reported on Monday that one unidentified player "feels the time is now for someone to take this step."

The report came in a week during which the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two high-profile cases involving gay marriage, including California's Proposition 8 law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Supreme Court decisions on those cases are scheduled to come by June.

Other NFL players offered vocal support for gay marriage ahead of the cases. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo filed an amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case, and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita wrote a lengthy New York Times op-ed in support of gay marriage.

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