NFL commissioner Roger Goodell believes a gay player would be accepted in the NFL.

In a wide-ranging interview with Steve Wyche of, Goodell was asked how the NFL would received an openly gay player in light of the mostly positive reaction to NBA free agent Jason Collins' recent coming out on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“Yes. Again, I have such great respect for our players,” Goodell said. “I don't think it will be just tolerated, I think it will be accepted. These are individuals who play in our league. We're all different in some fashion, and we're accepting of our differences. That's what this is all about.”

“To me, if it happens in the league, that's a personal choice that someone would decide to do,” he continued. “But I know their teammates and teams, and I think the fans will all respond the right way.”

While several football players have announced they are gay after retiring from the NFL, the most recent example being Kwame Harris, a former San Francisco 49er offensive lineman, none has yet come out while playing in the league.

(Related: Kwame Harris suggests he considered suicide while playing in the NFL.)