Ep. 20: Donte Stallworth explains his transformation from homophobe to LGBT activist

Wednesday, January 10th

In this episode of "Two Outs," Reimer and Buck speak with former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth. Stallworth is one of the most socially progressive voices in sports, and frequently lends his support for LGBT causes. But it wasn't always that way. By his own admission, Stallworth used to be homophobic. He discusses his transformation and the role his background as an African-American played in his change of view. Stallworth also briefly talks about his history with the Patriots, and thoughts on ESPN's recent explosive feature story about the alleged rift in Foxborough. 


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

And read where it's sure Alex quit Akinori are. The rambunctious way Cairo's they call me the phenom Alex career. And the old time baseball due to six people who don't know what I'm getting the sixty who didn't know what before I'm gay face it's definitely want to. Koppel Macy's definitely two outs with what you Roemer. This episode. Number twenty to us not just fox twenty episodes wow what a landmark. There was no where it's. Who would have thought that I'd be allowed seven that still sticks it yet yes but I it's but I as you log on a break and I don't mean by pro or college kids beat you like it's K holiday schedule for the podcast and docket but I want to be you. I think it was Steele on holiday break this week like the second leakage. Pretty amazing talent as we we were against it Abington nailed the music with the year yet. We was both last week we could. Because now right the snow Ike I made and and pursued Thursday night. Throwing me I am why I mean an end you know at night when it was totally distant total blizzard so you know unless they want to ask you I am here yesterday and Boston's on the here it's so yes really died in two weeks ago. Still I don't I. I always wondered is it time to you on in between it's been up since like. And it lights that in my Tom Brady from last comparable my dad's heroes and I think if the patriots if and when. The patriots make I this year well we can do you. Doing yet to be your thing every year and patient privacy seek oh yeah and you'd be on the money knows that it's the thing that I say yes so as you mentioned Miette Donte' Stallworth on the show this week. A couple months in the making he was on. Odd these airwaves at WEEI couple months ago with the training into mossy around Thanksgiving. There are talking about another subject but you mentioned in passing out used to be homophobic. And now he's not in those you follow up on and social media know he's very politically active and was one of the up foremost supporters of Michael's and when he came out and out with any talk about right which we talk about at length in the interview. Those interest as it was this a guy comes across as very light and now you know socially progressive. But he said he was pretty homophobic you know back in the day so I set up this would be interesting conversation for the podcast them up via. We can get them on because I'm always interested in the stories in and there are tons of dot it starts out their people used how'd. A preconceived guy senate notions about the gay community and they changed so here's the here's story. As a mine yes absolutely Sadat to start to get to that as certainly congress seeking don't want to mess course. Part of Houston patriots team as well but rubs it in the emergency rule I didn't think that was nice. Luckily after that I'm alive my intent was that that's the way you'd take it line. He stuck with us at not to start coming up on the other side it's too outspoken Roemer episode twenty. So this is say a couple of months in the making but what we were able to put this together. Donte' Stallworth former wide receiver in the NFL of course a formally of the patriots part of the 07. Sixteen and our team Donte' Harriet thanks for coming on. Hey I'm doing good I appreciate having you on. Yes yes again they succumbing I'm looking forward to doing this for awhile I want to get to the main purpose we had you on. In a little bit but first one to start off spot with this latest patriots a drama on treatment following anti played at the pats of course and seven came back for brief period. After that as well what is your action and ESPN the magazine story last weekend dot radian ballots Texas responses to it well. It's hard to say you know I I don't recall thing. A pretty good relationship between. You know and Tommy and mister Kraft now like any relationship that matter it. These outrageous period area our friendship with you industry and our. It is cheer bosses coworkers there's there's going to be strained relations and Italy we're human and we all have our. Our personal beliefs and things that you know we wanna do as individuals and things we want to collectively as a group. Help program more whatever. Over parking system it is that you are working for. Let me nervous you're going to be listening to guys like that I mean there's always going to be. Back opportunities for strain captain and you know I don't I don't know how. How much that hurt in this game I don't think it's the patriots have been known them. To kind. Ask her to decide the news in the Indy in the of these. Issues that Americans they're dealing with distracted patriots they've they don't exist in in the New England patriot organization leaders. That the EU. You signed up the 07 season when they when they went out and got receivers they got rainy laws they got Wes Welker they got. Kyle Brady was part of that right and you were part of that. So the good news is that you part of the sixty you know the bad news that your ten year kind of fell smack dab in the middle. Almost a boat yet they went three. While yeah and then and and add back and they want to win so ovals that that kind of bug you about it that that you weren't part of any of those. I. Don't let it I think about well I mean I don't care. Little further removed from Norman when they were objectionable but I feel. Nearly a few years actually. Been traded in during the 2000 section. The Philippines and 2006 and they and they want this boat about nine feet and twelve obviously. Obviously happy with these New Orleans and from all the teammates and people. Well I've made friendly. Not just in the city of New Orleans but in you know in the organization. Throughout that whole area region by. You know I I just I think it has. I'll social about the you know have been mentioned the and my dream will release one might have been changing about. And one of those streams. Was to play in the NFL. And so the fact that we're able playing so long and let it be blessed and her. And you a lot of great people to be able to let you know provides for my family and the other Latin great pains. Travel world let me you know that to be. You can have an all right I would like. Obviously one possible. Big ultra record especially eager to play out that I feel economists are capable. During the playoffs and they've suitable using machetes and if that didn't change my competition but yeah I I just kind of figured. The degree assault it was it I was at least. Blessed to play in one. Rather. I know when I was younger and still playing I took so that rather how to play suitable. And and game been played and it also now I'm older I'm like yeah Mexico neglect. Along beautifully start to appreciate things more realty it's so. Outlook and outlook you know very very minor injuries. And things of that nature and a lot of strain on the and other colleagues of mine. Much worse. Yeah now Lott and collect the reason we had you on your two sides Iran with the training we both know a couple months ago now I think around. Thanksgiving you mentioned in passing us as an appointed interview being mentioned that you used to be. Homophobic or used to be I somewhat anti gay and then you said that you've changed and obviously you're one of their bigger proponents for Michael salmon. Supporting him when he came out a few years ago so. The first question is when does this transformation of yours begin and and what caused it. I put them that they will. I won't say there was that you want him specific. Incident. Happened it and lately. What. They're gonna be entitled sold it. They understand it and and and understand you know what I was doing. Tom. Brodeur a couple of instances and he. Ten the briefs. Some simple question but warm. Want my acting because there and has gotten sick about it. And this is now that it was in the off season now living in Miami and there's a restaurant that I would frequent. In Miami and my. Feel Miami. At very high percentage. LG BTQ. Maybe there and so. Are you leaving used to hold the proper letters you really a falling out nicely bode well look at each other raised eyebrow rose. I I don't intensely about the Q to be on well number let me just jump him because he ate a few words going on that road. Yeah you said Miami has a high percentage of and I thank you again gave Pete was very clinical homosexual latins and yet of but then you throw in the actually with the unity while that was pretty impressive continue. Yeah well you know he had in being able and so that transformation actually the I would say probably started. Or began right right around this time and followed the restaurant. And I'll I was there all the time in a fairly decent person and so. I was I knew everyone from from chefs to. The waiters and wage system to the young busboy and Ellis scored everybody enveloped there all the time and so. We contribute every woman and they will pay as you know there are the service they were always great inside like the surge is great and then it will. And they would occasionally. You know get off work and enact the actually staying at the short quote that while posting a time. And we would bear there was a nightclub next door and you know me and I would invite them over and they want to come out would be cable and we would. Although there and just coming out. And so 11 time ask. A close friend of mine who was one of the wage there actually acted. And hey. Like you know laugh out among. Usage on. So why does not member. You don't want to I would like to believe that in. Party or whatever and she's like me don't like happiness like if you really want Steve Odom like lot going on there and cool. Which is like well you know aids is she's very light. Like since it was about him and I looked at her like oh my like him and I like in my doing something to make him feel a war. And she's like no assistant football being in you know income and here we got here if you made in the big. Street girls Bob. And so she's she's like he would cook a lot like like that that kind of made me feel bad. And it may be. I look I am also ashamed that. Speaking of him but he forgot who I've known him and we've we've talked often and on the and in what she told that I had no idea that it gave me she told me that. I noticed that when we come over talked meals like our handshakes and kind of like people or X. But then when things began with a lot of people I noticed there was aegis analysts who you know him as normal so. And I felt so bad I felt like what itemized might make you feel this way my what my doing that is making him feel that way that. You know you can even though I am not and I admitted you know prior to this prize that year. I've not been comfortable around gay community I just had a quiet. What they lately I think mainly the main reason lives black. At least somewhat homophobia in straight man. The mapping the main reason why they don't wanna be around gave me because they think they all gave him what sex. And and it actually they're escape that I saw they just go where. He had on I think that Mario can own. On from sections previously been talking about all the sexual orientation things like that and it kind of made this joke. About this is this guy was like walking down the street and says something like a think. You know do you think I'm not gonna read in the guy like look at every girl. So he's like you know do you think I'm mark and I was like oh yeah he's like he's sexy voice to your right way to say. And ready for overlooking the garbage scared because. You know it is as if it made your life like oh my god that would be I think we'd all like Wall Street main thing right you did their thing that. If it I don't know what it is this is a different kind of a beer something that you don't know and understand what. Let me jump in both. I just just back it up to. We didn't pre interview you'll Alex was the one that told me that. The story was that you you were I don't follow it by UN maybe less enlightening or in what. I would I would definitely I was I was home over that we look at. It wasn't adequate physical or verbal. Let that's when as well what would be an idea what would be an example back in the day. You might that if you will what would be what would be an example of homophobia. All of that also where the establishment. And I was something specific to that was hurting episodic that it happened. You know and being out of in the establishment and they're maybe that gave gave personally to gay guy and I would walk on the side of the room or or or like make sure that I without. Wannabe. Around gay guy. And and that wasn't you know that that was probably. So in my mind you know I'm not an Israeli nation hmmm think it would be in person involved by whatever. So he's going back to the to the sort of the restaurant. It is coming out. He actually count I told him yes and eventually comes. Yeah I wanna be like popular like you know. And he came later to the two nightclub and we had a great time. We talking and act out like twenty minutes and we talk all the time the united restaurant we never have agony in constellation. And our memory lane down my bed that night they are much hassle I'd be a part effort but. I laid down and I don't think Wright while. Is this dude is like super cool him and it I would have no means they have made. Have been opened to speak with him prior mail I wouldn't have liked. Like disrespect in this state and in my own mind you know but I figured I would have been thinking yeah right I. Talked to him that much. So live and I started to realize that looked so good leaders like you could do what you figured it or Cuba. This right here these children to achieve that person because you are. AT&T been acting this way how are you didn't you know it's. For the right. Black people or the right. Little children in unions or any any other issues that are born on a two by four or equality. And you're obviously you can't fight you can't kick in sheet and I've been inside. Com or you get you can choose we only look look look I've been a pilot to speak out against you don't equality that vehicle across the board. I say there was. And I'm sorry yeah you've played where you play the patriots in 2007. We had and Ryan Callahan it was a tackle the patriots and. I know man I saw that and ultimate. So my question would be you would have been teammates back in 07 did you know anything about him back then are. Not had no clue and and I was so hurt. Because how hurt he felt that he had to. You know trying to the not really be involved when guys are Euro whatever it may be you know he was do we lose trying really hard to. And and I had you know not really when it went back when I came out and I felt so bad. On because that was right around the time of transition and I wouldn't. By done anything to help at all I just. Eight is certainly. You know that might cheat. Was going to decide no freaking clue. But. In and so what I like and also did. They started to realize. Howell. How bad that was needed to be ridiculously and into the act. And I became more open it is kind of happened gradually leaving Miami. I think you know the you're. I'm kind of you know year things are gonna happen the way it happened. And I ended up dating this young lady in Miami at her best friend gay and was the company is doing super cool we all. And that those missiles that abuse acutely and so when when we would allow he would he would bring you more proud income on any out of it chasing him. And and that's when I realize that bad old house I should care. Act in order probably. Oh well. But I feel good about that a good outlook in Albany. From Little League team on hold to buy. Not even thinking about it when it happened right front and it didn't care what you mean like yeah what you would think after I probably will walk away. Anyway and you know it it was just he thought that gay men like wanted to have sex with. Which you are with men and not slide in wanna be around them it was a just thank. Well I think it was probably the right combination of that and I'm just being uncomfortable around yeah around Abbott I would say yes indeed straight man and who Hedo and pick yet and if they're not comfortable around getting and you ask them why. That that that's kind of be you know one of those topics are old so. A home in and so that was one instance and then the next and that thing happened right around him on when you got into the outlet when Don lemon. Aliens. Anything publicly came out and people like he got millions it was as soon so bad all the people saying that it. It been like my first kind of like public show. I'm not definitely very well you know social media really would create a card anyway but. Yeah outlets when he came between eleventh and there and I'd like actually do some development exactly what I assume that means something the fact that. It's just saying that that people. Are ostracized and criticized or for the person that they level or or or whom they love. And I was like that's not right it meant something like that I say that came most important. Beacon that. At that at that moment I was completely like size and comfortable. With what advocating that what we're doing it like my little the only. When all of them got to look at me like are you didn't like when you know they look at that as well but it under my belt. I'm actually gave it up like I can't I can't. You can't sit back and be upset and black people are treated a certain way Internet also speak for. The people who are experiencing. These inequality injustice to me throughout throughout this country and throughout the world. And actually build up in the Michael Salem com. Draft came up in the and people were talking about him being a distraction though this in my experience with New England. And what the ravens' Ed taught me that distractions. Are. What you make of that one I connection that they have been progress. A bow. Quote unquote distractions. And out scene blew it would be terrible. Organization and a terrible football team if they could have handled. You know this situation right Michael stand that we during the season you come up with all these. Situation that what happened and you know they're gonna happen players gave. In trouble off the field appears adversity and injuries or our. You know told Cheney do whatever the case may be trade or whatever the case may be posting. It's kind of happy and so if you know that actually aggregate content committee you can. And so there shouldn't be an issue. We have. You know what what's happening in the locker room inside and I talk about Al Belichick we'll handle that how about all about it. Two different two completely different methods. But the ball. I felt we would have been effective. And and I started you know by the useful lives. Ball and you know advocate or you can keep you in any. Still. Talks and can you model I think our shared. Stagnant incomes. All of more more and more accepting. And it you know again I always our long history. And file is like trying to ban people it was a just remind them a human. You know he's the same way that you don't wanna be around gay GAAP and gave gotten. In the same way that white oak tree people in Alabama in the BP related wanna be in the pool. They had Donte' you can bet you want. Yeah I imagine that a couple times about how you begin to relate your experiences as a black man. To you know to gay people and how it's a reason why you know I've become more accepting union and now an advocate how come you don't think. More African Americans feel that way because to me that that and that's a pretty easy connection to me. It seemed like it we didn't think like a bullet. Unfortunately I think a lot of people's. From our only interests and their own struggles and it's hard for them soon. Kind of the back of the peoples and when they are tired struggling with themselves but what I would I would like to. Also point out you know that there are. A lot of people knew I could count that was especially. You know in the sense. Saying it since I became an advocate for origin YouTube community and it. It it's a loving community. And they're accepting of everyone and it's really goes weird group site. It's like the people. You know there's there's this supreme there's a creature of of people that have been loot in the it. The Supreme Court in Holden you know they stay there or that they were protests bombs during court. About. About ending. Segregation voting rights act almost. And they were holding signs it and you've got where. But depicted. All I'm caricature and in different sayings one of them was. Segregation Allen Trevor let me just close the concern wish. You know big east sixty years later where people an entire UB PG sometimes. And I blew my mind yet again practicing or just 67 years later the same exact person you're perpetuating a and it's almost like you know no matter what year political affiliation or sexual orientation. Armed militias and political beliefs are leaving him like a systemic oppression in the group. And minority groups in particular and IPO I act like I can get along with the new. So Dante. He was coming up on the fourth anniversary February 10 2014 Utah we did in the quote. If any and if any NFL team can't handle the media coverage you have that in quotes. But drafting Sam and your team has already loser in the field. You you follow that up with a litany of tweet she wrote the piece of think progress you were you written up in the Huffington Post and other media outlets. So so we know what the media follow was from your stand did you hear from. Former teammates and other football people what what you are saying. Here are a lot of people involved in it's not surprising. A lot of people. And reached out and supporters that supported me and said he agreed I think it's great what should go in and let some some rain and the people who work. You know questioning. Was you know what I'm back in immediate. It. Gloria. Ex teammates or people he grew up with who is whose question. A lot of people a lot of people but what did you Tony Dungy you're Herm Edwards. No let but actually it is not in and I and I love I love it would but he was. He was one of the people who do it. It would came out would come out and say something about you know about Michael I am right being this flexibility but I and I and I know her I know he didn't mean it that way. They just came out it came out very bad. I want to be like Claire right what is a distraction and what not distractions. And that was that that was it was kind of all the cut that out actually watch in the ESP. I. And when what do you think obviously in DC stand tetra teammates ex teammates all the time what do you think the climate in the NFL is now. In terms of acceptance in comparison to where it was and you hung up the cleats you know 56 years ago. I can get much more access and I don't I can't put a number or percentage. I think the more that we need to start to understand one another. As human beings are informal outside of or sexual orientation or political affiliation or race pigeon. I think we can't seem to be become to understand wouldn't blog each were here. We all share in the same little glowing blue boy actual newspaper source and that thing. Same here and we all need to be able to ignore all that together. I think the good thing with social media is that people are starting to understand. And becoming more connected. On globally. But also restarted but look at the same time I think it also can put people. You want to their corners with their own actions leave him in the Euro echo chamber so that expects. That when bit down side that would. From an overall standpoint I would like in the lead anyway. So in our room and culture. More accepting. Good players are worse six years ago. And I Don de thanks for the time and really good stuff gladly Wear you Bafana put together enjoyed it. Bypassed a lot going for men and dot then attacked as soon. All right thank you I was Donte' Stallworth but certainly you said before talked to music kind of guy when you speak with them here out by hasn't liked in his perspective and certainly very interesting stuff that it's interesting because he could have said it no I was hopeful but that was an enlightening I don't use upfront that I even gave him that that you gave an out exit strategy and he had until well. Yeah. It was interesting that he was so yeah and India and that's why I asked him Mike's it wasn't just a fear that now and wanted to just have sex with the ailing knees like yeah that's kind of like I was wondering was their deeper story. Something else to it that he's that I was at just I was just felt uncomfortable around. But you know that's a classic story right you feel uncomfortable around gay people and tell. You come in contact with one. Come in contact of a couple of his kick ass I also thought it was interesting because it was we didn't have a chance to pre interview him in Ryan telling him things on the mind yeah. We had a one applaud. And they call the pod. You're cool yeah I am trying I'm learning from you and it's animal on and he played the patriots in 06 and seven. Dot they stalwart plea for the patriots and says and they they they probably wouldn't have been buddies to positions the locker room. NFL locker rooms the way the meetings and practices setup. You know you can sometimes Wales he's connected to know very well. And but he jumped on that he he was aware they'll kill him McMullen did what back then had heard rumors. It was a refreshing that he was supposed to certificate that was in point effect right around the time that he was doing right. Re evaluating and so. Examination if you will ever when he came in contact with part people in his personal life and funny Alec Don lemon it's kind of Estrada got a chemist back in recent OK I am now gonna be more and advocates I'm gonna publicly voiced support south the LG BTQ community which mention a couple times. And we both. I just it bears repeating that when he says in Miami and as you know there are a lot of and we both looked at each other with him say is is going to be. The work with sexual goalies like a sticking point when it sounds like a diagnosis on our home is there and it was missing gates spoke with sexual NS day. That's something he might arrested back in the day. But he threw OB ET you know he needs the IEA plus Ohio mean the LG BTQ I plan needs go all the way even highly about the key was I sad. All right so bucket they got a tweet to a couple of tweets you're wondering where it to its podcast has been we are back after us are prolonged colony and has become match you up biweekly WEEI dot com. And of course check this out subscribe to two outs in the nineteen stork. And leave a review please no more reviews you leave we climb up the iTunes charts and that. Get the show more visibility so again they think Sadat to start for coming on certainly enjoyed it. But as always enjoyed our time together absolutely be on the radio Friday night and Saturday afternoon now if you wanna go out and we mentioned Russia. Yes is that it people but you with us out of this brightness this'll be up before and it's if you lined up the mentioned senator without the Friday night from six that span Alex tonight will be here. And if you wanna check out our test easily joke there you kind you know cards at test eon and yeah status and the guy doesn't own a car to host the show it not an author of the whole thing is that before they send a guy who doesn't own a car and the guys on the same card since 2003. The audits of your eyes. Genius. I may go to new currently get a free economy right now so much the say on average now this Porsche is yours as stout are right hockey player.