“Why I Support the National Equality March”: NFL’s Scott Fujita Speaks Out for Gay Rights

Scott Fujita is a star linebacker for the unbeaten New Orleans Saints. He is also a 2001 graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a BA in political science.  In addition to playing for the Saints, he is also is someone proudly raising his family in post-Katrina New Orleans. In the following interview, Scott speaks out about why he is supporting the October 11th National Equality March for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights in Washington DC.



Dave Zirin: Scott, you made the decision to lend your name and endorse the National Equality March. Why did you choose to do that?


Scott Fujita: I think for me it was a cause that I truly believe in.

By in large in this country the issue of gay rights and equality should be past the point of debate. Really, there should be no debate anymore. For me, in my small platform as a professional football player, I understand that my time in the spotlight is probably limited. The more times you have to lend your name to a cause you believe in, you should do that.


Dave Zirin: You’ve said to me in previous discussions that one of the reasons why this issue really resonates with you is because of the issue of adoption, and who gets to adopt children in the United States. Can you speak about that?


Scott Fujita: A year ago or two years ago, I remember reading about an initiative that was proposed in the state of Arkansas. It was some kind of measure that was aimed at preventing adoptions by single parents. Now, the way I read that and the way that I translated that language was that only heterosexual, married couples could adopt children. As an adopted child that really bothered me. I asked myself, what that is really saying is that the concern with one’s sexual orientation or one’s sexual preference outweighs what’s really important, and that’s finding safe homes for children, for our children. It’s also saying that we’d rather have kids bounce around from foster home to foster home throughout the course of their childhood, than end up in a permanent home, where the parent, whether that person’s single or not, gay or straight. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s a home that’s going to be provided for a kid who desperately needs a home. As an adopted child, that measure really bothered me. It just boggles my mind because good, loving homes for any child are the most important thing.


Dave Zirin: Now Scott, what makes your stance newsworthy is that people don’t really think of the National Football League as a gay friendly place. How present is homophobia in the locker room on a day in and day out basis?


Scott Fujita: You know people do call it homophobia, and even that term alone is interesting to me. Because I don’t even know how they call it homophobia, because that’s a fear of the same. It’s more heterophobia. It’s a fear of something different from yourself. Is there still some of that in the locker room? Absolutely. People tell me, hey, that’s pretty courageous. You come out in favor of gay rights. I don’t think it’s that courageous. I think I have an opinion, that I wish was shared by everybody, but I honestly believe that it’s shared by more [football players] than we know because a lot of people just won’t speak out about it. I’m hoping that what [Baltimore Ravens linebacker] Brendon [Ayanbadejo] did, and things like what I’m doing, speaking out a little bit, hopefully more people will step up and acknowledge the fact that hey, its ok to talk about this. Just because I’m in favor of gay rights doesn’t mean that I’m gay or doesn’t mean I’m some kind of “sissy” or something. That’s the language that you hear in locker rooms. I know these guys well. I know for the most part, guys are a lot more tolerant than they get credit for but they’re not comfortable yet speaking out about it. It’s going to come in time. By in large, it’s an opinion that’s shared by more people than are realized. I just wish it was shared by everybody.


Dave Zirin: Scott, do you have any concerns that teammates, fans, people will say Scott Fujita may be married and have kids, but maybe on the down low he might really be gay? Do you have concern that teammates, bloggers, the press will talk that kind of smack about you either behind your back or to your face?


Scott Fujita: No, I have no concern about that whatsoever. I know who I am. My wife knows who I am. I don’t care one way or the other Dave. I imagine that when some of this gets out guys in the locker room might give me a hard time, and they always give me a hard time. They call me the Pinko Communist Fag from Berkley. I’m used to it. I can take it all.


Dave Zirin: You made an interesting comment to me off air about the utter illogic of people who claim to promote God and Jesus but stand four square against any kind of national equality. Can you speak about that please?


Scott Fujita:. I completely respect everyone’s choice of religion. Just because I’m not a very religious guy doesn’t make me right or wrong, or them right or wrong.  Everybody has a right to believe in whatever they want. But, I don’t like when people use God or Jesus Christ in this whole debate, if you could even call it a debate. Jesus Christ to me, is probably the most compassionate and revolutionary thinker of all time. Look at his teachings. Look at what he preached. He would not endorse any type of inequality, this type of inhumanity. He would not be on board with that. So please, spare me that argument and saying that hey, the Bible says that it ain’t right, or hey, Jesus Christ wouldn’t buy into this kind of thing. Don’t give me that. That’s not even an argument.


Dave Zirin: Is there anything else you’d like to add?


Scott Fujita: I’m excited about this. You know what Brandon did was great. What he wrote in the Huffington Post was very well said. I’m glad he did it. I know people are applauding him right now for being so courageous. It’s courageous to a certain extent, but its just an opinion. I wish more people shared the opinion that he and I have. Like I said, I think more people do than we realize. I just wish more people would be as open as we have been about it. I always describe myself as a pretty open minded and tolerant guy. But the one thing I am most intolerant of is intolerance. That’s the one thing, you want to get under my skin, to start talking about some intolerant stuff, and I’m quick to talk about it.


Dave Zirin: Oh, if that’s the case, then we should just expect you guys to beat the Redskins forty two to nothing when you’re in town. The Redskins name will get you all riled up and you’ll have 20 tackles right?


Scott Fujita: (Laughs) Now you’re trying to get me in trouble.


*This interview originally aired on Dave Zirin's popular Sirius XM Satellite Radio show, Edge of Sports Radio, which airs Friday's from 12-1 PM EST on Sirius XM SportsNation, Sirius 122/XM143*


[Dave Zirin is the author of “A People’s History of Sports in the United States” (The New Press) Receive his column every week by emailing dave@edgeofsports.com. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.]

11 Reader Comments | Add a comment

Taking a principled stand

Nice to see the ice beginning to crack even in the NFL. It's a pity that Obama isn't as principled as Scott Fujita.

French gay soccer team snubbed by Muslim team

Good interview. This would be a great article, too.

PARIS (AP) - A French gay soccer team says its members were victims of homophobia when a team of Muslim players refused to play a match against them.
The Paris Foot Gay team says Tuesday it received an e-mail from the Creteil Bebel club canceling a match scheduled for last Sunday.

"Because of the principles of our team, which is a team of devout Muslims, we can't play against you," the e-mail said, according to Paris Foot Gay. The e-mail received Saturday said, "Our convictions are much more important than a simple football match."

Paris Foot Gay said in a statement that it asked the amateur league to sanction Creteil Bebel.

Zahir Belgarbi, identified as a spokesman for Creteil Bebel, told France-Info radio he apologized if "anyone felt upset or hurt."

I dont think you have to go all the way to France

... to find instances of Homophobia. We have plenty here, as well as more than our share of Islamophobia, which you could argue is seen as even more "ok." The snubbing of the team just because they were gay was truly an egregious incident. It is just that for us to be pitting minorities against each other like that, is just a little too ... convenient.

A breath of fresh air!!!

Hello again, Dave

I am very encouraged by the words--and actions--of Scott Fujita!!!!! He is definitely one man of prinicple who is not afraid to go against the grain and speak on what needs speaking on. Brandon Abadeneyo is also a fine one for posting what he posted on The Huffington Post.

I believe Scott when he says more are with them on their stances--just not able to speak out freely as they have thus far. Yet, I do believe that, in time, others will follow.

I voted against Prop. 8 in California last November--ONE OF THE FEW AFRICAN-AMERICANS TO DO SO!!!!!! While the work does, indeed, continue, I believe that marriage equality will return to my home state someday--provided all the lessons learned from last fall leading to is downfall are, in fact, heeded and implimented.

And may marriage equality someday become a reality all across this land someday, being looked back upon in subsequent generations to follow with the same amazment and disbelief which such things as bans on interracial marriage, blacks--particularly as slaves--as 3/5 of a human being, married women viewed primarily as property and equal partners in a union, etc.

And may I, as a black transbian, someday marry the woman I love should that great day ever come to pass. :)

You don't have to go France...

to hear condescending excuses for the rampant homophobia in the Muslim world.

How awfully condescending of you Ashley to say that it is "pitting minorities against each other" to point out grotesque homophobia.

The truth is America is far more tolerant of homosexuals than the entire middle east.

And since when are the 1 billion + Muslims in the world a "minority." Your ethnocentric condescension is showing.

Calm down, killer (Tornado)

Let's not lash out at well-meaning people. Calm down. How do you know for sure that she meant it in a condescending way, rather than statistical? Muslims in are indeed a religious minority in France, and most of the West. I am an Atheist, and a religious minority in my country, and most of the world. Ashley is quite obviously a well-meaning supporter of both Islam and homosexuality. Why are you focusing such anger at a well-meaning individual who is ON YOUR SIDE? Seems to me it would be more productive to educate her in a politely.

Concerning the interview - I heard this one on the air. Its such a breath of fresh air. Can't wait to debate my friends on this one when I get back to the States. Can you imagine the Sunday afternoon discussions that will be had? Its time to school the homophobes on morality and reality.

Don't have to go to France, Part Deux

Tornado, you said my comments were ethnocentric. So, what ethnicity am I? Im just saying we cant be like 'crabs in a basket' when it comes to supporting different peoples struggles for equality and respect. In America, weve got both LGBT brothers and sisters catching hell as well as Muslim brothers and sisters catching hell, and people of conscious must stand in solidarity with them. I think most Edge-heads got that. D-Ray got that. Now, about America being more tolerant of homosexuality than the entire middle east, maybe so, but its not about finding someone less tolerant than you are, its about seeing the need to make our own society more tolerant. Besides, Id wager that some parts of Beirut, Tel Aviv, Morocco are more tolerant of different lifestyles than many parts of the U.S.


from my experience, you don't have to go far beyond your local religious institution to find homophobia...its rampant among the vast majority of religious people, the more orthodox the worse.

Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sihks, etc.etc.etc.

Proud to be a Saints fan

Fujita has always been a class act, and it's good to see him keepin' on with that. It's high time there were some more prominent sports figures preaching greater tolerance on all of us who share space on this earth...and I hope what Fujita and Ayanbadejo have done recently is the start of players showing they not only have the cojones ON the field to be giving their all, but that they have those same cojones OFF the field to be speaking this way.

Great interview, and WHO DAT!

Thanks for this, Dave.

Wanted to say hi

Hi all wanted to introduce myself!! I look forward to being part of this comunity.

professional football player

I think for me it was a cause that I truly believe in. By in large [sic] in this country the issue of gay rights and equality should be past the point of debate. Really, there should be no debate anymore. For me, in my small platform as a professional football player, I understand that my time in the spotlight is probably limited. The more times you have to lend your name to a cause you believe in, you should do that. You can read the entirely amazing interview by Dave Zirin at The ...

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Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to dave@edgeofsports.com.
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