Michael Sam, a senior at the University of Missouri, has declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. As a 6’2″, 256 lb., All-American defensive end, Sam also received a Co-Defensive Player of the Year award in the SEC which is by far the best conference in college football. However, this young star is receiving massive amounts of publicity and has been a heated topic of
conversation for well over a week now. So why is this borderline 3rd round pick, taking the sport world by storm? Well,
because Michael Sam is gay.
Coming out and expressing that he was gay, may have been the hardest thing that Michael Sam ever had to do in his life. However, having to do it in the limelight of the most popular, testosterone-filled sport in the United States is a whole other unfathomable task.
There has been an overwhelming amount of backlash to Sam’s announcement. Many have complimented his bravery and are proud of him. Whether it be through social media, or in real interviews, players have made it very clear that they are perfectly fine with Sam and respect him all the same. However, there is also the prototypical homophobia that runs rampant whenever an LGBT issue comes to the forefront. Writers across the field have argued that Sam’s draft value would decline because no team would now draft him now. They assume that no team is willing to take on the “burden” that would come along with having a gay player on your team. Along with this negative propaganda, other players have unfortunately come out and expressed their discomfort with it as well.
Now even his father is against him. Although he claims now that is was “terrible misquoted”, Michael Sam Sr. belittled his son and said he was disappointed in his son for his orientation in an interview. He claimed that he was a, “Man and a woman kind of guy.” He even went as far as to say that, Deacon Jones, an NFL Hall of Fame defensive end, and former Univeristy of Missouri player would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that a gay man was in the same position as him.
With all of the anti-gay sentiments that have risen against Sam, the league is in good position to better their image in the gay community. Sadly, some people still genuinely believe that homosexuals would sully the image of the NFL. For those people who believe that the league would be tarnished with openly gay players, keep in mind, there are already rapists, convicted criminals, murderers, drug addicts, and men like Antonio Cromartie who is the father of 10 children from 8 different women, that are all currently playing in the NFL. So will the league’s precious reputation really be ruined now, if a gay man of good morals begins to play for the NFL alongside all these morally corrupt heterosexuals?
Acceptance is the most significant step towards a better world. Sam’s journey will be something that will be an interesting story to write about for a long time coming. However, in the end, all that should matter is the pure talent of Michael Sam, the man. The 6′ 2″, 256 lb. defensive end, from the University of Missouri.