D.C. lobbyist pushes to ban gay athletes from joining NFL
(WJLA) - As Michael Sam demonstrated his athletic abilities at the NFL Combine Monday morning with hopes of making history in professional football, a D.C.-based lobbyist is generating his own headlines with a proposal to ban gays from joining the league.
Jack Burkman, CEO of Burkman LLC, said the legislation he is drafting has already amassed political support. But during a live interview on NewsChannel8’s Capital Insider Monday night, Burkman declined to name any lawmakers who would sponsor or support it.
“Today is the kick off so you’re catching me on day one,” he said. “We expect to have a lot of support. I’ll give you the projection. Within three weeks, within 20 days, our projections indicate we’ll have 36 Members in the House, 6 in the Senate.”
Burkman said the legislation was triggered by news of Michael Sam announcing his sexual orientation.
“We are losing our decency as a nation,” Burkman said in a statement, promoting the proposal. “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
Online, many are highly critical and skeptical of Burkman’s proposal. Some believe it is merely a stunt to generate attention for his lobbying firm and his profile in Washington conservative politics. But during his appearance on Capital Insider, Burkman denied that. “It’s about restoring common decency,” he said. Later, he added, “The point is to make a point.”
It is unclear how such a ban would even work. “This is a statute that would preempt all state law. It might even go so far as to preempt a variety of state constitutional provisions,” he said. “I think it’s necessary.”
Burkman acknowledged there are likely dozens of gay players already using NFL locker rooms and showers alongside straight players. “One, [this legislation] would ban [gays] from the National Football League,” he said. “Two, it would give the NFL a choice. It would allow them to create separate facilities – completely separate facilities.”