The Big and Not So Big Deal About Michael Sam
If you don’t know who Michael Sam is, he played for the University of Missouri, and came out as being the first ever openly gay pro football player right before declaring for the 2014 NFL draft. After Michael came out, waves of support followed and many congratulated him. President Obama was quoted saying, “Congratulations on leading the way. That’s real sportsmanship.”
I too think it’s a step in the right direction that Michael’s announcement is getting coverage for being the first gay pro football player. This is a historical moment for the LGBT community, and for the sport’s universe.
But what I don’t like about all this publicity is how some are taking this news and twisting it. Questions are arising about if his coming out announcement will affect the NFL draft. Him being gay shouldn’t affect what anyone thinks about him, in or out of the locker room. It shouldn’t affect his NFL stock.
Sports Illustrated asked in their recent issue “how will news that Michael Sam is gay affect his NFL draft stock?” Deadspin posted an article saying that, “NFL executives say the league isn’t ready for Michael Sam” and one former coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards says Michael Sam is “bringing baggage to the locker room.” Michael Sam being gay should not effect any of these things or any of the NFL teams’ decisions on drafting him. If anything, use an openly gay player to bring some diversity and positive change to the League. All this hype and attention shouldn’t be focused on how being gay will affect Michael’s career, but on how he is the first gay player and how Michael is creating change.
It’s really quite sad how SportsCenter and ESPN are covering it, seeing how some of their first thoughts were, “Would locker rooms accept a gay player?” It’s also really annoying and frustrating to see SportsCenter news anchors look scared or stutter when they say the word “gay,” as if they were allowed to swear on camera.
The stories of if the NFL is ready for a gay player need to stop, because it is. The NFL will be just fine. The drama and coverage of Michael needs to stop; accept it and move on. I mean come on, men in tights tackling and touching each is already a little gay to begin with.