Despite locker-room joking, Gonzalez happy with ad

FLOWERY BRANCH -- The last time People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had something to do with the Falcons, planes were flying over head and protesters were outside of the gates.

But this latest ad with Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife, October, in which they were photographed in a way that made them appear to be nude, is in support of the organization's anti-fur campaign.

The irony was not lost on Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who was with the team during the Michael Vick federal dogfighting case that attracted a heavy protest from PETA.

"We've got some good stuff around here," White said. "Not all of this negative stuff, flying helicopters all around the field. Get out of here with that. This ain't no circus."

Gonzalez said the ad campaign was agreed to before he became a Falcon and photographs were taken during the offseason.

"It looks good," Gonzalez said. "It's something that me and my wife, we talked about it. It's something that we feel very strongly about. It's a great cause, especially when you educate yourself and find out what's happening out there in that world."

Gonzalez considered the issue before agreeing to do it.

"It's something that I've never done before," Gonzalez said. "I'm usually not a very political person. I'm not deeply political like that."

Before jumping into the fight over the merits of fur, Gonzalez had to be educated on the issues.

"They have it online," Gonzalez said. "The pictures that I saw were pretty gruesome. If it's done the right way, then maybe. But if it's done the way that I saw, it's definitely inhumane."

He liked the photography, and so did teammate Chris Houston, who commented on October's beauty.

"I'm OK with it," Gonzalez said. "I don't want to ruin it for him. We had clothes on. My wife is a pretty woman. She's like a flower. It's nice to be looked at."

White had seen the ad, too.

"That's crazy," White said. "That's my first time ever seeing something like that. I think we are going to give him a hard time. Somebody is going to get him."

After considering the ad, further, White seem to think it fit Gonzalez's character.

"He's very expressive," White said. "He's that type of guy. He's flashy. He's a California guy."

Gonzalez, who the Falcons acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, is one the NFL's all-time greatest tight ends. He has been to 10 Pro Bowls and is having a solid first season with the Falcons.

Some of his new teammates have already started to harass him over the ad.

"Some stuff that I can't say," Gonzalez said. "It shocked some of them. It was all in good fun."

But he was ready for the locker room razzing.

"If you do something like that, you better be prepared," Gonzalez said. "The guys in the locker room are going to let you know what they think about it.  But I can take it. I've been around a long time. I've heard it all before."

But when the locker-room dust settles, Gonzalez hopes to help a cause that he considers worthy.

"Whatever the fallout, I'm glad that we did it," Gonzalez said.

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