Earlier this month, Johnny Anonymous, an unidentified NFL offensive lineman, released a book, “NFL Confidential: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football.” On Friday, Johnny stopped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss numerous topics in his book, including concussions, racism, drug use and homophobia within the NFL.
Johnny began his interview by talking about head injuries and concussions, saying he worries if he’ll be able to walk by the time he’s 40. While he experiences anxiety over his long-term health, the league, he said, does not.
“They don’t care,” Johnny said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s just a burn-you-out league and when you’re done and you can’t produce, they just get rid of you. You could say, ‘Well, they put all this stuff in on concussion protocol,’ but at the same time with the way our market is as players, if you get yourself into a situation where you feel concussion-like symptoms, you don’t always want to tell people – just for the simple reason of if you’re deemed concussion-prone, now you’re too much of a liability to maintain employment. Teams will cut you for being concussion-prone and injury-prone. It’s just the nature of the sport. As players, it put you in a very awkward spot. Yes, you want to maintain your health, and yes, you want to take care of yourself, and sure, the NFL has steps in place to do that, but it’s a poor choice for your career.”
Johnny said that he has hid “multiple” concussions from his coaches.
Looking at social issues within the league, Johnny said that while the NFL is not overtly racist, there is segregation within organizations.
“As far as between players and within a team and a locker room and a building, it exists,” he said. “Segregation, unknowing segregation, exists. We’re men that come from all parts of this country, all different pieces of society, and we’re raised to believe certain things. You don’t lose those when you get into the league. So you’ll find yourself in a situation in the locker room where you see a group of all white guys talking and a group of all black guys talking, and it’s just because people will go where they’re comfortable with. But when it comes to true racism in the NFL, it’s different amongst players. You could find yourself in a situation that is truly racist, but between players, something like that just rolls off your shoulder and it turns into a joke because we know it’s not meant to hurt. It’s just there to play on stereotypes.”
Johnny also described rampant homophobia within NFL locker rooms, saying that players would much rather have a female, rather than a homosexual male, as a coach or staff member.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “There’s something about a gay man in an NFL locker room that just turns players the wrong way. I remember when the Michael Sam thing went down, guys were reacting and it was a consensus through the locker room: ‘What do you do with this guy? Do you give him his own locker room? Do you give him his own bathroom? Do you put him in a closet? I don’t want him here. I don’t want him staring at me.’ There’s just such a strong homophobia within the NFL that I don’t think a gay player could last. Unless they are truly untouchable, the great of the great, an openly gay player couldn’t exist, nor would a coach or anything along those lines.”
There is also apparently widespread drug use in the NFL – to a degree that would surprise the average fan.
“We get tested once a year, it’s within a six-week window and you know when the test is,” Johnny said. “For a guy to test positive for smoking weed, that’s hard. You quit two or three weeks before the testing window and you wait until you’re tested. What’s really funny is when a guy gets his test done, you’ll see him sprint back into the locker room, cheering and smiling – just because he knows that night he gets to go home and smoke it up. Guys use it as a stress reliever. It’s everywhere. I truly believe that if they tested us more often and randomly for street drugs, there’d be so many positives (that) it’d be hard to play games.”