Jan 3, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after a play during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The crud hit the fan tonight on social media after Missouri defensive end Michael Sam officially announced he was gay. This is a SEC co-defensive player of the year who is about to go through pre-draft interviews and be drafted in the NFL. Personally, I applaud him for coming out. Unfortunately there has been a lot of hate, ignorance, and stupidity in people’s comments since the announcement was made.
Then there are those people who say “who cares?” or “why is this news?”. I’ll tell you why. If you don’t care, please don’t read on. You’re right, we shouldn’t care in this day and age when someone says he or she is gay. The problem is there are still many that do. It is news because this fine player is about to start earning a paycheck in America’s favorite professional sport. Whether you like it or not, it’s news.
Should Arizona Cardinals or NFL fans care he is gay? No. I don’t. Unfortunately, secretly a lot of NFL scouts and teams do still care. Hence the reason behind his timing I’m sure. The combine is next week. NFL teams are going to start interviewing him. A player’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t to most employers these days. However, we are talking about the NFL here. The ignorant comments are still out there.
Former NFL wide receiver Patrick Crayton came out on Twitter this evening and said he should have kept it to himself. Stay in the closet. That’s one of the most ignorant comments I’ve ever seen. I know why he said it, because of the timing of all the pre-draft stuff coming up. However I truly believe everyone should stay true to themselves. Michael Sam did that.
I’ve read where he came out to his Missouri Tigers teammates this past summer. I applaud him for that. However I truly believe Sam was trying to do himself a service here by telling teams ahead of time now, here I am. I’m gay. Deal with it. It might hurt him, it might not. People say they don’t care but I believe there would be more backlash on him if someone inadvertently found out through back channels and then it got back to the team. The team will feel, however right or wrong, that their player was not upfront with them. It could end up hurting him more in the long run by not telling the world. Again, not saying this is right because it isn’t. In 2014 though, unfortunately this is how life still works like it or not.
It is sad in this day and age it is still breaking news when a professional athlete announces they are gay. It is breaking news because those barriers still have not been torn down in those lockers rooms. Look at what people said when NBA player Jason Collins came out. There was a lot of negativity then. There is a lot tonight as well. I’ve seen a lot of hate and hurtful comments already. People are still not accepting of a gay person in this world. It is fact. I hate it. I know most of you do too. That’s just the way it is though. I don’t think the Cards necessarily need a guy at that position now, however I know someone will take him close to his projected spot of the third or fourth round. Props to Michael Sam for having the courage, especially at a time like this, for coming out.