- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said Tuesday that when it comes to football, characteristics like a player’s race or religion make no difference whatsoever to him or his teammates and that they would welcome an openly gay player to the ‘Hawks.

Mr. Wilson praised former University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who recently came out as gay ahead of the NFL draft, as “courageous.”

“You know, you have a lot of respect for someone that can do that,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If he’s on our team, I know that we’ll treat him with utmost respect just like everybody else.”

In an appearance earlier Tuesday morning on “Fox and Friends,” Mr. Wilson was responding to a question about Mr. Sam and a report that lobbyist Jack Burkman is preparing legislation that would ban gay players from playing in the National Football League.

“To be honest with you, when I step in the huddle for the Seattle Seahawks, you know, my focus is on winning football games and our goal is…one goal, and that’s to win a Super Bowl,” Mr. Wilson.

“And every time we step on the field, that’s our mindset. So when I step into the huddle, I don’t care if my offensive lineman is white, black, if my receiver is Jewish or Christian, you know, that has no effect on me.”

Mr. Wilson said he didn’t think opponents would use Mr. Sam’s sexuality against him on the field, either.

“Like I was saying, I think that our ultimate goal is to have guys that work extremely hard all the time that are focused on one common thing,” he said.

Mr. Wilson, the Seahawks‘ second-year quarterback drafted in the third round out of the University of Wisconsin, completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns in Seattle’s 43-8 throttling of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl earlier this month.

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