Well good for Fujita. I imagine his background (white guy adopted by Japanese parents) has something to do with his outlook, since it isn’t exactly your typical all-American football upbringing kinda story, but then I guess looking at the situation in those terms is kind’ve shallow and condescending in the first place. Either way it’s good to see.
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – When the request arrived in an e-mail last fall, Scott Fujita replied immediately and without reservation. A friend had asked him his opinion. He answered. That was how Fujita looked at it.
The swiftness and certitude of Fujita’s reply stunned Dave Zirin, the friend who sent the e-mail. Zirin had not made a typical request, not for an NFL linebacker. He was looking for a professional athlete to lend his name to the National Equality March, a rally in Washington for gay rights.
On Sunday, Fujita will reach the pinnacle of his football career, playing linebacker for the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl. Fujita describes it as “this small moment in time where you have a platform to do some good things.’’ Last fall, that included speaking out in support of gay rights, a rare step in a professional sporting culture that often turns social stances into landmines.
Fujita, who is married, the father of twin daughters, and straight, pushes against the rising trend in sports to remain mum on cultural and political touchstones. His boldness, shaped by his unusual upbringing, makes him an uncommon and effective advocate for what he believes in.
“People asked me a question and I gave my opinion,’’ Fujita said. “People say, ‘That’s so courageous of you.’ To me, it’s not that courageous to have an opinion, especially if you wholeheartedly think it’s the right thing. For me, standing up for equal rights is the right thing to do.’’