Yesterday we reported on former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who came out as gay and announced he’s soon to be married. CNN’s New Day spoke with Rohrer and his fiancé Joshua Ross about the coming nuptials and his past in football.
Rohrer said the past 24 hours have been incredible: “Yesterday was amazing. There was so many people calling and reaching out and being so kind and supportive that I think it sets the record for most times I’ve cried in one day. It is amazing.”
Ross said he never expected to be marrying an NFL player: “I didn’t think I’d ever get married. When I met Jeff, I had no idea he played football. He kind of hid that from me. Then it was kind of like, so. And then I found out he had two children, so it was another gulp. But we’re here where we are, and we’re happy. We’re excited.”
CNN’s John Berman asked Rohrer what the Cowboys would have done if they’d known he was gay: “Well, I wouldn’t have been a Cowboy to begin with. You know, I was drafted in ’82. And, you know, it was a different time back then. People were just different. And being gay was not part of any kind of narrative. Today with the millennials, everybody is extremely supportive. There is very, very few people that have come out against this, and we really appreciate that. ”
Rohrer said he has cried many times in the past day: “I didn’t expect the kind of love and kindness from all the friends and family and ex-teammates from Yale to Dallas that were reaching out. The phone would ring and I would take it. It would be somebody I haven’t talked to in 20 years. I think that says a lot for the way that society is changing for the good. And we were talking last night. It was like we were saying, ‘you’re either on the train or you’re left at the station.’ If you’re left at the station, you’re like an antique. For those people that aren’t okay with this, then you could stay at the station. We’re going that way.”
About the current state of the NFL, which has no openly gay players, Rohrer added: “You know, somebody has to break the ice. It’s not the reason why we did it. We fell in love and wanted to get married. But this hopefully will, you know, open the door for other people to feel comfortable knowing that people are supportive.”
Berman also asked Rohrer if, looking back, he has any regrets about not coming out sooner: “I wouldn’t change one thing for a couple reasons. One, because I wouldn’t be sitting here with Joshua. And two is I love my ex-wife. I love my kids. We’re one big, happy family still. There is so much love in the house. Joshua is a big part of that I wouldn’t change a thing. And had I come out and done it differently, you know, things would be different. And that’s okay, too. But my story is one that happened to me later in life. There is plenty of people like Joshua that, you know, came out young in life, and that’s great for them. But for me it was a different story. And because of my family and my life, I have been so fortunate with the people that I met and have been around that I wouldn’t change a thing.”