By Anthony “Booger” McFarland

Have you ever lived in a neighborhood with friends and maybe even a co-worker or two? The neighborhood is full of the normal things that we see, from kids playing, to yards being mowed and maybe even the occasional jogger. And within that little community we all interact in some form, whether it’s dinner, a chat on the lawn or maybe even a harmless wave as we are leaving. The one thing that goes without saying is that we are proud of our neighborhood so we take the time to get to know the people we see inside of it, if we can.

Now let’s move to another community called a professional locker room. The locker room is very similar to our neighborhood. We are cordial to several; however we only have dinner with a few. With that being said, the issue of homosexuals in the locker room is one that needs addressing without emotion to truly understand where a lot of athletes come from.

Just like that community in which you live, you get to know people whether you want to or not. Maybe you see the hours a wife comes in, the argument in the driveway between siblings or maybe you even see the items being unloaded as a new family moves in. Either way you know more than you probably should. The locker room is the same way. We are around a group of men for months at a time, even more than our families. We eat with them. We shower with them. We even bleed and sweat with them.

I understand the rights and laws of this country. I agree with 99% of them and am not trying to change them. But when it comes to homosexuals in the locker room I think the ‘other guys’ have a right to know. Don’t get me wrong, what you do and who you do it with is your own business; however just like the community in which you live, you get to know people and what they are all about. It helps us to gravitate toward or steer away if it’s a situation in which we aren’t comfortable with.

I know what a lot of people say: “It shouldn’t matter, it’s discrimination.” But it’s only discrimination if you don’t allow them to work or create an adverse environment for them to work.

I take you back to the community in which you live. It’s where your pride is, it’s where you relax, it’s where you unwind, and most importantly, it’s where you spend the majority of your time. The locker room is the same for pro athletes and wanting to know who, what, and how things go in the locker room isn’t a big deal. As a matter of fact, I think it’s as healthy as getting to know your next door neighbor.