New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski Says Gay Player Would Be ‘Another Teammate and Another Friend’

Gronkowski

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski tells Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN Radio New York that he's fine with a gay player on the team:

"I got this question before, about a year ago, and I basically will say the same answer that I did a year ago. 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. 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."

Asked if other players would respond the same way, Gronkowski adds:

"I never went around asking players on my team or in the NFL, 'Hey, what would you think if someone on our team is gay? How would you take it?' I never thought of that, and never asked anyone that and never tried to find out if there is [a gay player] on the team. If someone is on my team and they are a great teammate and a great player on the field, helping the team win — that's all you've got to ask for."

Comments

  1. joeyhegele says

    “Keeping distancing”? So close, and yet not quite there. His response is better than some players, but he is definitely not an ally like Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Ben Cohen, Scott Fujita, and Hudson Taylor.

    I certainly hope we see a gay player come out soon. It would be a wonderful way to bridge the divide between gay men and straight men. Sports have a way of bringing people together.

  2. peterparker says

    It’s disappointing to me that Gronk inserted that phrase ‘keeping distance’, mainly because I’d like nothing more than to throw myself at him.

    But really, all you queens who are criticizing him need to lay off. His comment about ‘keeping distance’ was clearly a way of saying ‘So long as he’s respecting me, I’ll respect him’. Gronk is and has been a friend to our community. We need to embrace him as such and let him off the hook for being a tad ineloquent in this instance.

  3. Pats fan says

    I guess it’s a sign of progress that a guy with his wide appeal and large following in the NFL can say something slightly inartful but supportive and the gay knives come out to slice him up. I get it. Hell, I’m gay and I want guys to keep their distance from me in the locker room.

  4. Francis says

    I was going to say the same, joeyhegele. Keeping distance? So basically, I’m cool with a gay player, as long as he keeps his gayness away from me. Respect my “space” and don’t come too close to me and we’re totally cool. That’s conditional acceptance. So, not the best of answers. But it’s fair enough and better than most players who respond to this issue.

  5. johnny says

    Keeping distance = I think he meant “As long as he’s not hitting on me or making overt signs that he wants sex with me, I’m OK”.

    And the same goes for straight-questioning guys and gay guys in the bars or parties that seem to think it’s OK to grope anything with balls. I don’t like being pawed at either, so I’m OK with what he said. Yep, I don’t like my personal space violated either – by men or women.

  6. Francis says

    Honestly, it’s fair, what he said was fair. But that’s a pretty bad misstep to say essentially that as long as a gay player keeps his gayness away from me, it’s totally fine. We all know if someone not connected in sports would make a similar comment that there wouldn’t be the same positive reaction. If someone said “as long as they don’t hit on me”, lets say an actor…..hell, if Rob himself said that exact phrase, there would be backlash.

    He said he’s OK with a gay player as long as he basically stays away from me. That’s conditional acceptance. It is what it is but we should take what we can get so I am.

  7. Kenny says

    The Keeping distance comment made me immediately dismiss him and his views. Men like this are not allies he doesnt care if we are gay as long as we arent around him when we are or we arent being gay when hes around.

    To hell with guys like him he even looks braindead by his picture good looking or not if you dont have respect for me as a human being and respect my ability and right to love the person I want to love then I dont give a crap about what you think period.

  8. Kenny says

    I tweeted this moron men like him are the reason gay kids take their lives. Ya know the typical macho ones who think there is something wrong with them and dont want them to INFECT them .

    Pathetic macho primitive men.

  9. Kenny says

    @Francis conditional acceptance is not full acceptance so no we shouldnt take what we can get from guys like this.

    Comments like his only hurt this community making it look like we can infect someone if we get close to them due to their pathetic fragile masculinity.

  10. Kenny says

    It’s disappointing to me that Gronk inserted that phrase ‘keeping distance’, mainly because I’d like nothing more than to throw myself at him.

    But really, all you queens who are criticizing him need to lay off. His comment about ‘keeping distance’ was clearly a way of saying ‘So long as he’s respecting me, I’ll respect him’. Gronk is and has been a friend to our community. We need to embrace him as such and let him off the hook for being a tad ineloquent in this instance.

    Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2013/03/new-england-patriot-rob-gronkowski-says-gay-player-would-be-another-teammate-and-another-friend.html#ixzz2OwtsGdUh

    Dude stfu gay dudes like you are the main problem with this community calling people queens fags etc… No different then any other bigot just some arrogant dude incapable of respecting a differing opinion then yours.

    Be gullible and naive your whole lives I wont stop you but its easy to know who is and isnt an ally and Rob is not one of them.

    His comment was divisive ignorant and stupid flat out.

  11. JONES says

    ‘keeping distance’ … meh.
    Gronk is a gay rights supporter. This is his way of putting it out there that he’s just not looking to play grab ass in the locker room. (Perhaps he got a bit too much blowback from saying he’d bone Tebow.)

  12. Jeff says

    The “keeping his distance” comment is unfortunate. What he and probably most straight men don’t realize that gay men and straight men have been getting naked together for thousands of years. In rivers and lakes, in Roman and Greek baths, and in sports locker rooms and gyms all over the world. It’s not a big deal and it’s been hapenning for a long time now.

  13. Mark says

    As most Patriots fans know already, Gronk isn’t the brightest bulb in the lot, so I think he can get a pass on his specificlanguage. The general sentiment is on target even if one phrase was off-putting.

  14. Rick says

    Come on, people. The “keeping distance” comment was just an acknowledgement of the reality that 99% of gay men would hit on Gronk if they thought they had even a 1% chance of getting his d!ck.

    You know it, I know it, he knows it, everybody knows it.

    So stop pretending it isn’t true.

    He is just keeping it real….which is preferable in my opinion to someone lying for the sake of political correctness.

  15. Jeff says

    A very good straight friend of mine used to go to the same gym as me. We showered together a numner of times. It wasn’t a big deal. The thought me of having to “keep my distance” from him I’m sure never, ever entered his mind.(And he’s Polish, too, as is Gronkowski’s orgins, if I’m not mistaken.)

  16. Rick says

    “What makes some heterosexual men think all gay men want to have sex with them?”

    In his case, because it’s true. OK, maybe not all, just 99.8% (LOL).

  17. Rick says

    What I meant to say is that closeted gay men like myself would hit on him because we’re such complete wimps that we’re terrified of being around any guy who is openly or obviously gay.

    I mean, the reason that some straight guys are afraid of gay men hitting on them are because of closeted losers like myself forcing ourselves onto them because we’re not man enough to date, you know, actual out gay men.

  18. UFFDA says

    I agree, Rick. I always end up hitting on straight men and that’s mainly because I’m terrified of any guy that you can tell is gay, so I just touch straight men and hope for the best. We truly are a lot alike.

  19. Rick says

    “A very good straight friend of mine used to go to the same gym as me. We showered together a numner of times. It wasn’t a big deal. The thought me of having to “keep my distance” from him I’m sure never, ever entered his mind.(And he’s Polish, too, as is Gronkowski’s orgins, if I’m not mistaken.)”

    Probably because you were already friends by the time you started being in the shower together and “boundaries” had already been established in some way.

    Any time a gay man and a straight man become friends with each other, that boundary, assuming there is one, is going to have to be established pretty early on for the friendship to proceed.

    Again, we all know this.

    All strangers, however, are fair game, as we all know, unless and until we get to know them and ascertain what the boundaries are, if any.

  20. Anony6 says

    As long as the gay player is “keeping distance”…”he’s another teammate and friend”.

    What would we ever do without our straight male friends.

  21. Anony6 says

    One more point…

    So what if every gay man did want to sleep with some straight guy. Get over it. The expressed sensitivity of straight men to the possibility of attracting gay males is so damn hypocritical.

    Look at the way some of these same straight men objectify women, and perpetuate patriarchy. Oh that’s okay, but being viewed as a sex object by gay men is just crossing the line.

  22. Jeff says

    (I know, I know, I REALLY shouldn’t feed the trolls…) but I have to in this case. Sorry.

    Rick, Yes we were friends before we started showering togrther at the gym, but the only “boundary” that existed is that he is 100% straight and I am 100% gay. He’s comfortable in his own skin and not afraid of me – even naked in the shower. I’m comfortable in my own skin, too, and when I shower in a public place, I do so to get clean and get out of there. End of.

  23. Ryan says

    “keeping distance” didn’t sound very good, but I think he just meant, “yo, dude, don’t hit on me.”

    A lot of women would say the same thing about straight men, when there’s unwanted attention aimed at them.

    So, while I wish he was a bit more thoughtful on how he said it, let’s realize 1) he’s not fully exposed on the issue and 2) he’s a football player, not a spokesman and 3) his statement was actually pretty darn supportive.

    Hopefully, he’ll course correct and clear up that bit that I think was inartfully said, but over all I’m happy he’s on the record as being supportive of a player coming out.

  24. Rick says

    “the only “boundary” that existed is that he is 100% straight and I am 100% gay”

    Right. Which you both knew before showering. Boundary firmly established=No problem. Boundary nof firmly established=Lots of potential for problems.

    “So what if every gay man did want to sleep with some straight guy. Get over it. The expressed sensitivity of straight men to the possibility of attracting gay males is so damn hypocritical.

    Look at the way some of these same straight men objectify women, and perpetuate patriarchy. Oh that’s okay, but being viewed as a sex object by gay men is just crossing the line”

    No hypocrisy on their part at all. They are not allowed to shower with women. You, as a gay man, ARE allowed to shower with straight men. BIG difference…..and that is why Gronk said what he did.

    Another difference: Straight men are “sensitive” to being found attractive to gay men because it might make others think they are gay, themselves…..which would not be an issue IF being gay did not have the connotation of being unmasculine…..and it will have that connotation as long as the culture of effeminacy prevails and most gay men ARE unmasculine.

    Straight women, by contrast, don’t resent straight men being attracted to them–indeed, most of them jump through hoops to try to be attractive to men–it is not “objectification” they resent; it is fear of the perception that they are too “easy” to get, which lowers their social value–and this is why they react negatively to casual advances from most men.

    See what happens when you take your head out from under the skirts of feminists and actually think for yourself–AS A MAN, rather than as a pseudo-woman.

  25. Davey says

    I know a girl who dated Gronk before he got big his first year in NE. He went shopping for an air conditioner, said “I like this one” about a dehumidifier. 100% true story. He’s not the brightest bulb.

    So the keeping distance remark is an inarticulate way of saying as long as he isn’t looking for love in the locker room, he’s happy to have him on the team.

    As an ally, one of the most infuriating things about sticking up for the community is that if I misspeak one word, I get killed for it as if I was a genuine bigot. Cut the guy some slack.

  26. EchtKultig says

    Sorry, the silly overreaction to “keeping distance” says more about most of you than it does about him. He’s a dumb straight jock, but not a homophobic one. “Keeping Distance” is just his awkward way of saying he doesn’t want to be hit on by a gay male. I have no problem with that. I don’t like being hit on by females.

  27. Francis says

    It’s not really an overreaction. If he would have flat out said “as long as he doesn’t hit on me” then that would have been the major focus of his comments. No, he’s not hateful, not homophobic. That doesn’t mean his comment still isn’t conditional acceptance because it is. Taken at face value, his comment is insulting, and taken in the context he was saying “as long as they don’t hit on me” it’s arrogant and foolish.

    It is what it is. Like I said earlier, we’ll take what we can get, but absolutely not am I nor should any of us hail the guy as an ally. An ally wouldn’t say what he said, inarticulate jock or not. But I appreciate the support.

  28. Francis says

    And I will say that I’m not too offended by what Gronk said. I’m not bashing him. But he said what he said. He’s stupid but he’s I’m assuming smart enough to say a few sentences with some sense behind them. He said that as long as a gay player more or less doesn’t bring his gayness around him that it’s OK. As long as he doesn’t get too close, I’m OK. That is not a supportive comment. Everything else he said was fine. That statement though is very much not fine. Comments like that aren’t helping matters.

  29. Cincy513 says

    Ok, so I am not the only one who was baffled, pissed and confused by the “keeping distance” comment. How can you consider someone a friend or teammate, if you only interact with them from a distance? He is not secure in who he is, if he was having a gay man in his personal space would not not bother him.

  30. Rick Robertson says

    By “keeping distance” he might mean a personal distance as well. Our straight friends may know we are gay and have no trouble with that, and may even know and appreciate our partners, but they don’t want to know if we fisted someone last night, ya know?

  31. northalabama says

    doesn’t anyone understand? you’ve gotta keep your distance, the gay might jump off you and onto the straight guy – it’s contageous!

  32. Seattle Mike says

    I guarantee you that if he does end up with an out player in his locker room, he’ll learn that “keeping his distance” just isn’t an issue. He hasn’t had to deal with that yet.

    And I seem to remember an earlier brief interview with Outsports where, right before saying how supportive he was of gay players, he said he was afraid he might not express himself well.

    Cut the guy some slack. He’s on our side.

  33. DanR says

    I think he meant “keeping distance” as not sexually coming on to him. That’s fair. I wouldn’t want any unwelcome sexual advancements toward me too. He said that that gay teammate would be just like any other friend. I think that’s important to more focus on. I like him and I like what he said.

  34. northalabama says

    i understand exactly what he meant, danr. my question, if he’s truly ok with with another’s sexuality and his own, wouldn’t he be falttered if someone flirted with him, anyone?

    i don’t ask straight girls to “keep their distance” just because i’m afraid they might make a pass, that’s crazy.

  35. FFS says

    @Rich: Preemptively complaining about sexual harassment that hasn’t happened yet is, at best, embarrassing, whether it comes from a man or a woman. Embarrassing, bordering on douchey.

    Hence, the brouhaha.

  36. Francis says

    So why would Rob need to clarify, if what he meant was “don’t hit on me”……..why exactly would that even need to be said in the first place? That’s already implicating a potential out gay/bi teammate as a potential sexual predator. As long as you don’t hit on me, fine, is a very offensive thing to say, actually, in this context. We’re talking about an NFL locker room, not a gay bar.

    He said what he said. He’s relatively supportive. Did he say something offensive? Yes. That needs to be pointed out. That’s the only way to further the conversation on out athletes.

  37. Rich says

    @FFS
    Coming from a corporate culture in which I lived, breathed and earned my living for 22 years, I can tell you that it’s absolutely necessary to discuss this pre-emptively.

    Forty years ago, it might have been appropriate to ask a prospective male employee if they had any problem working for a woman. Nowadays, that question would be superfluous.

    I think we’re at a comparable stage with gay players and the NFL.

  38. Tom Cardellino says

    Journalistically speaking, I think it is extremely unfortunate that a “website with homosexual tendencies” would reproduce the bracketed ameliorated replacement of the spoken word of Gronk who said “one” with the replaced phrase of [a gay player] when it eviscerates the truly “other” sense of gay people as “ones,” as if we were aliens from another universe or a bug on the wall! Gronk said “keeping distance” (whatever that means) and then follows it up referring to another human being by saying the words: “…if there is ONE on the team” etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Now, I realize that Gronk does not take umbrage (nor can he probably spell it or know what it means) when a fellow Patriot lovingly calls him a meathead. Okay, we’re not dealing with the complexities of international diplomacy, nor are there any near semblances of rocket scientists as players in the NFL, but why are we LGBT folks so very desperate, still, to be merely tolerated while being thrown that oh so coveted bone from a straight Neanderthal that they’ll be our “friend?” Pathetic internalized self-loathing homophobia is why, and the sooner we stop staring with supplicating glances toward such numb-minded “idols” for self-fulfillment, the sooner we might rid ourselves of most of this homophobia we’ve been forced to accept as normal. Were I a religious person, I guess I could eke out a phrase or two in praise of God, Thank You, Gronk is not bashing gays when he lets loose in Las Vegas. Just because he dares to bare his upper body in Vegas and then does not do an Eddie Murphy preemptive homophobic warning against gay guys ogling what he’s strutting about, well, I guess that’s progress, even though it’s at a snail’s pace whereupon the snail took a few “back slimes” along the way it’s been for many decades.

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