So Michael Sam is gay.
His sexual orientation should be no more relevant to his success as a football player than if he preferred Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey over Cherry Garcia.
Unfortunately the media will see to it that it does make a difference.
I had to chuckle at 105.7 The Fan yesterday as I listened while meandering around town. A few of the hosts agreed that the media makes a far bigger deal about Sam’s sexual orientation than need be, yet with each of their sports updates it was the lead story:
“The SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year admits that he’s gay!”
Does it really matter?
People make it seem like he’s going to be some sexual piranha in the locker room. How ridiculous is that?
Perhaps some in the media are gay as well. Has that been a problem for the players? Has it been a problem when female reporters enter NFL locker rooms? Based on the overdramatic media you’d think that these players parade around all day long through team headquarters with their junk on parade.
Look there’s a chance that a co-worker of yours right now is gay and you don’t know it. Why? Because they probably do their jobs well, keep their private lives their own and everything moves right along without a hitch. It doesn’t affect your job and it doesn’t affect you.
The only difference between Michael Sam and that co-worker is that Sam is a candidate for the 2014 NFL Draft. He’ll go to the NFL Combines and be poked and prodded and interrogated as if he was a criminal. That’s just the nature of the NFL beast. League scouts don’t take an investment of a draft pick lightly.
Sam, understanding this, fired a pre-emptive strike before NFL teams labeled him disingenuous, untrustworthy and a liar in addition to being gay.
Good for Sam!
And good for Sam’s teammates at the University of Missouri who respected his privacy and for the most part kept his little secret under wraps, understanding that it didn’t matter one damn bit!
This certainly says something about that Missouri Tiger locker room and it also says a lot about Sam. If players in their late teens and early 20’s thought enough of Sam to keep his lifestyle in confidence – in this world of social media that is a death wish to privacy, that has to say something about Sam’s character. He is a good player and a good teammate that does nothing to undermine the integrity of “team”.
At the end of the day do you care if Michael Sam dates Jack instead of Jill? Should his co-workers or his employer?
Of course not, assuming your maturity level is something north of eighth grade!
You only hope that if your team drafts Sam that he’s productive on the field, a man who puts his team first and is an upstanding man in the community. And if he fails, let it be because he couldn’t read his keys, hold down the edge in run support or drop into coverage when called upon.
Not because he isn’t inspired by a supermodel.
Maybe the media could learn a thing or two from Sam’s Mizzou teammates.
But they won’t.
Instead they’ll make it difficult for a young man to make a living in the NFL.
And THAT’S a big deal!