CNN Analyst: To Stay 'Viable,' NFL Must 'Encourage' Gays

September 8th, 2019 8:54 AM

On Saturday afternoon, CNN followed up on its Friday morning hosts gushing over the NFL's Ryan Russell coming out as bisexual by continuing to do its part to promote gay rights as CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan predicted the NFL must "encourage" more gays to come out so that it can be "viable" in the future.

At 4:48 p.m. Eastern, CNN Newsrom weekend anchor Ana Cabrera proclaimed that Russell had made a "bold" move by announcing his sexuality as she set up a clip of his interview with CNN's New Day show from Friday. Cabrera then brought aboard Brennan -- who is also a sports columnist for USA Today -- who declared that it is a "big deal" because the NFL is "a reflection of our culture" as she also alluded to Colin Kaepernick using NFL games to protest, and called Russell's move "an important first step."

Cabrera then recalled another NFL player who was not signed again after he came out as gay as she followed up: "How do you think the NFL will handle this? Because we know Michael Sam tried to blaze the same trail five years ago -- never played in another NFL regular season after he came out. Has the climate changed since then?"

They never considered that Sam just wasn't good enough for the NFL.

Brennan responded by talking up the alleged strength of pro-gay sentiments among sports fans:

It sure should have changed, Ana, and if the National Football League wants to be viable and wants to retain its spot as the number one pro-league in our country well into this century, it has to accept this and it has to encourage this because those fans who are maybe in their sixties, seventies, eighties who maybe are a little bit more reluctant on this topic, well, they're not going to be around in 20 or 30 years.

Your future fan base -- your future season ticket holders are those 20-year-olds right now or the high school kids right now -- people in their thirties who are much more accepting and understanding of people coming out -- of people discussing these topics than their parents or their grandparents.

She added:

And the future of the NFL frankly depends upon the NFL getting this right and being welcoming, understanding, and mandating in those locker rooms that if someone does come out like in this case that they need to be treated properly and right. They need to be welcomed, and we'll see if he gets signed by another team. He's not playing right now, but that would be a great statement if, in fact, he does.

Cabrera agreed: "Right, and certainly a courageous move on his part."