Bruce Arians said it's fans, especially fans of opposing teams, that would have a problem with a gay NFL player. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians gave his thoughts on Wednesday about how gay NFL players would be received by players and coaches.
Speaking to FoxSports.com in a telephone interview, Arians, who served as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts before being named head coach of the Cardinals in January, said the problem would not be with the players or coaches in the league; he thinks they would be accepting of a gay player on and off the field. The issue, he said, would be with fans, especially fans of opposing teams:
"I don't think the locker room would have any problem with it. The problem would be with the fans. I think especially opposing fans. Some of the things that are said are over the top and out of control that I can imagine what some fans would say to an openly gay player."
To abate any potential issues, the NFL Rookie Symposium this year will host speakers, including former players, to address sexual orientation in and out of the locker room.
But as for moderating fans if and when NFL players come out, league spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today Sports in April that fans would be monitored if the league feels that there is any kind of "public reaction that might not be appropriate" when it comes to how an NFL player is received after coming out.
"Our league and team security people would be ready to monitor any kind of public reaction that might not be appropriate, including scrubbing social media for potential threats. We would assist the player in dealing with any adverse public reaction of any type, if there is any. Hopefully there wouldn't be and it would be a non-issue, which it should be."