Who cares if a linebacker is gay?

Is Manti Te’o gay? That is the question that was apparently on the minds of NFL executives at the recent NFL combine.

Te’o, remember, is the Notre Dame linebacker who went from runner up in the Heisman Trophy vote to a national laughingstock when it came out that the girlfriend he said died during the season was fake.

For some reason, the bogus girlfriend got people questioning the linebacker’s sexuality, as if it’s common practice for gay people to make up girlfriends as a way to stay in the closet.

Even Katie Couric asked the linebacker if he was gay on her syndicated talk show because apparently everybody — even the Great Katie Couric — needs to re-watch “The Outing” episode of Seinfeld.

If everybody would just watch that episode once a year — and it’s on at least once a week — silly questions like that would be put to rest forever.


People’s personal sexual preferences are nobody’s business but their own.

“No, far from it. Far from it,” Te’o answered Couric, as if it really is possible to be far from gay.

Unless you are John Wayne, Charles Bronson or, of course, Chuck Norris you are not far from gay. You either are or you are not, right?


Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The NFL doesn’t share Seinfeld’s point of view, and Te’o’s sexual preference is apparently a bigger deal than the fact that his 40 time wasn’t much faster than mine.

“Here’s the elephant in the room for the teams and it shouldn’t matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL,” Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk explained to Dan Patrick recently. “Teams want to know whether Manti Te’o is gay. They just want to know.”

In summary, in the NFL it’s OK if a linebacker stabs two guys to death … just as long as he doesn’t kiss them first.

Federal laws, if not common decency, prevent NFL executives from asking potential draft picks about their sexual orientation. That, though, won’t stop them from trying to answer the questions about Te’o and other coaches who might “play for the other team.”

So, Manti, you like to watch figure skating?

Did you catch Barbra Streisand at the Oscars?

Who is your favorite character on Glee?

Are you a Dallas Cowboys fan?

If those questions don’t give it away, then they might just have to break the law and flat-out ask the question because the linebacker is so desperate to go in the first round that he’ll probably never tell on them.

By the way, if we’re going to question a linebacker’s sexual orientation, how come nobody ever asked Ray Lewis about his preference?

I would presume a guy who does a big, choreographed number every game during pre-game introductions is gay long before the guy who was duped into believe he had a real-life girlfriend. Or a guy who made up a girlfriend.


Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

I’ve heard a lot of stereotypes about people of all ethnics, gender and sexual orientation, and I’ve never seen one that says gay guys can’t tackle, run, catch or throw. So what’s the difference if a player is gay or straight?

The answer to that is nothing, unless you’re making draft-day decisions in the NFL.

“They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it’s a different world,” Florio said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

Ah, it’s that they don’t want the gay guys sneaking a peak in the locker room logic at work here. That’s right, the NFL locker room  — that sacred man sanctuary where naked men are interviewed by female reporters who would never, ever check out a muscular, athletic man.

Also, it’s a widely-known fact that gay men can use the Jedi mind trick, eliminating the ability of even the most elusive running backs to say no when in the confines of an NFL locker room.

Without question, there have been many gay players in the NFL over the years. I’d be willing to bet some  —  even many — are in the Hall of Fame. You might even be wearing a gay man’s replica jersey as you read this.

Have you ever heard of one tiny incident that should make the NFL decision makers worry about whether or not Manti Te’o likes men or women?

Then, on the heels of the questions about Te’o’s sexuality comes Lauren Silberman. She’s the attractive woman who failed grandly during a kicking tryout for NFL teams this weekend in New York.

Silberman kicked off twice and those two kicks totaled just 30 yards, making her a national laughingstock. Even fellow female kicker Katie Hnida, who suited up for Colorado and New Mexico before kicking in the Arena Football League, blasted Silberman.

Because women seem to like to tear other women down, Hnida called Silberman’s performance “terrible.” Hnida didn’t seem to care that Silberman injured her quadriceps muscle leading up to the tryout. Silberman played through the pain in her tryout, making her more of a man than Maurice Jones-Drew.

(That one’s for Jay Cutler.)

Even if Silberman could kick 60-yard field goals one after another and boom kickoffs through the end zone every time, the NFL clearly isn’t going to take a chance on a woman player. As we’ve seen with the Te’o fiasco, we’re not talking about a bunch of enlightened men here.

However, these men are really missing the boat.

You trying to tell me there’s not one woman out there who can’t kick field goals in the NFL? Really? Not one member of the United States Olympic soccer team could miss field goals like Billy Cundif f or David Akers?

You trying to tell me that no woman athlete could run out of bounds or duck a tackle after catching a pass like Wes Welker?

You can’t expect the boys club of the NFL to figure it out, but it would make serious economic sense to sign a female kicker in the NFL, too.

Think about it. Team’s could save money against the salary cap because they could get away with paying the woman kicker only 82 percent of the league minimum.

Plus, if they asked Silberman if she was gay, they’d be praying she said yes.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

— Sportswriter Bill Foley, who watches too much Seinfeld, writes a column that appears on ButteSports.com on Tuesdays. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.