There were at least two gay players on the 1993 Houston Oilers, a team noted for its dramatic comeback and subsequent collapse, team members have told the Houston Chronicle.
Members of the NFL team did not name the gay players but said they were accepted by their teammates, the Chronicle reports.
“Listen, those guys that we’re talking about were unbelievable teammates. And if you wanted to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys,” linebacker Lamar Lathon told the paper. “And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that things were not exactly right. But guess what? When they strapped the pads on and got on the field, man, we were going to war with these guys because they were unbelievable.”
To date, no active NFL player has come out as gay, and only one active player in any major professional male team sport has — NBA center Jason Collins, who is not currently signed with a team.
The 1993 Oilers, the subject of a recent documentary on the NFL Network, were notable for winning 11 consecutive games after losing four of their first five in the season. They then lost their first playoff game. The documentary portrays them “as the most dysfunctional pro football team ever to take the field,” the Chronicle notes. “Players supported that general theme during interviews with the Chronicle. But they also insisted the ’93 Oilers were much more of an inclusive family than most have ever given them credit for.” The paper will publish an in-depth feature on the team Sunday.
The Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997 and became the Tennessee Titans. Houston’s current NFL team, the Texans, debuted in 2002.