Michael Sam clocked an official 4.91 in 40-yard dash. Ranking him 18th among the 42 DE’s participating in the NFL combine. Let’s be honest, this would not be news worthy if Sam didn’t come-out as the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft. But instead of talking about his unimpressive combine, the media focused on his sexuality.
He put himself out there, literally. He chose to tell the world who he really is and I think that’s awesome and it took a lot of courage. But you can’t make breaking news and then be shocked that your news is all the media is talking about.
“Heck yeah, I wish you guys would tell me, ‘Michael Sam, how’s football going?’ ” Sam said. “I would love for you to ask me that question, but it is what it is. And I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player, instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player.”
So far the reported news coverage on Sam is positive from the University of Missouri (standing O during a men’s basketball game where the football team was being honored). A Missouri fan gave Sam a rainbow button that said “Stand with Sam”. Sam was wearing the rainbow button at his combine press conference.
There have been reports of other gay NFL athletes, but none that were openly gay during their career. I guess I’m just more surprised that it’s 2014 and a gay athlete is THIS big of deal. Why has it taken this long to just accept one another?
Maybe it’s just me, but I grew up in house where you picked the best player to be on your fantasy teams. The details and adjectives of that player were just labels and not a reason to pass judgment or not draft them. (Unless they play for the Eagles and then I will pass judgment all day.) Michael Sam is gay (Woo hoo. High-five) but all I care about is; can he play at a professional level in the NFL. I can only judge him on the field, what he does off the field (as long as it’s not breaking a law) I could care less.
I’m not a professional athlete and I have no idea what being gay will do to a locker room. But just like Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line, maybe Michael Sam will break different color lines in the NFL.
So, Michael Sam, how is football going?