San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he would welcome openly gay linebacker Michael Sam if he was his teammate. Kaepernick said there should not be a problem with him among others in the locker room just because of his orientation.
"When he steps into that locker room, everyone is going to know he’s there to help us win games. That’s why you’re in the NFL: to help us win games,” Kaepernick said in an interview with ESPN on Sunday. "Nobody cares if you’re black, white, straight, gay, Christian, Jewish [or] whatever it may be. When you step on that field, you’re a member [and] in my case, [on] the 49ers. That’s your job [and that's] your occupation.”
Both Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton were interviewed on ESPN one day prior to co-hosting the Cartoon Network’s “Hall of Game Awards” for Monday night. This is the second straight year Kaepernick will be co-hosting the awards show in Los Angeles.
Newton also expressed support for Sam, saying he is focused on what happens involving the team, not the man's orientation. For him, it's all about working for wins.
"The main focus with football players is we’re here in this organization for one reason and one reason only," Newton said. "If you’re helping us attain that winning success, your personal life is your personal life.”
General manager Trent Baalke previously released a statement about Sam, saying he will evaluate him with an open mind.
With the recent Wells report that came out in regards Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin with the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick said the 49ers will not have any problems in that aspect. The quarterback said some joking is fine, but nothing where it becomes serious.
"We have a very tight knit group in our locker room," Kaepernick said. "We joke around, we have a good time, we’ll mess with each other here and there, but it’s all in good fun. At the end of the day when we step on the field, they’re on our side and they’re helping us win games.”
The Hall of Game Awards will be on Cartoon Network at 7:00 p.m ET, 6:00 p.m. CT for Monday evening.