The always-enjoyable David Fleming has a story about communal showers in this week's ESPN The Magazine. It's nominally about the Michael Sam controversy, and asserts that no one cares if a gay man is looking at penises in the locker room—because everyone is looking at penises in the locker room.
There's even a name for it: "meat peeping." Everybody knows everybody else's penis sizes, since these are young men naked in a room together and that's what happens.
One former Tennessee Titan was so poorly endowed that every time he stepped into the shower, teammates would ask him, "Have you pissed on your balls today?" Well-endowed players (sometimes referred to as Hall of Fame members) get it even worse.
"I'm in the shower the first day, and everyone's looking but not looking, ya know?" says an NFL linebacker. "I got my head down, washing my hair, and I look over to the side and I see, like, an extra limb flopping around. This was the biggest penis I have ever seen. I was like: 'Dude, what the f—- is that thing?' And he was so shy and reserved about it. He was like, 'Come on, man. Cool it.' That just made it worse. 'Donkey D—k' became a running thing on the team for years. It was like, 'Donkey, you gotta own that thing! If any of us had that, the whole world would know about it!'"
So relax, paranoid straight people. It's a place for joking and for teasing, not for lascivious cockwatching. As Scott Cooper, a former college football player who came out as a senior, puts it, "I never worried about popping a boner in the shower. It's just not a romantic place at all."
If this story serves to alleviate the fears of any athletes, then wonderful. But for everyone else who knew Michael Sam would fit in just fine, Fleming's piece serves an even greater purpose. It reminds us of one of the classic Greg Maddux anecdotes.
Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux used to mosey up to rookies in the shower, engage them in conversation and, while pretending to listen to them talk, secretly pee down their legs.
God bless Greg Maddux.