You want to give him respect and space and you ask for understanding, but there are questions worth asking now.
It’s been a week since the NFL draft. It’s been a week since the St-Louis Rams took Missouri defensive end Michael Sam with a 7th round pick.’
It’s been a week of a wide variety of questions. How good is he? Why did the SEC Player of the Year last so long in the draft? Are people staying away from him because he has come out of the closet, not just to chase quarterbacks, but with the pronouncement he is gay.
We live in a different culture now, where being gay is public and is part of our lifestyle. It’s no longer the era of Dave Kopoy or Jerry Smith, who lived in fear in the NFL of being ‘outed’ back in the 60s and 70s.
Much has been made about how Michael Sam will be treated in his own locker room; how will this be handled on the field; what will the league do if people issue slurs against him.
But within this week, you wonder about motivations and game plans. Michael Sam kisses his boyfriend on network television the moment he gets the call from the Rams. Michael Sam’s marketing people sign a deal to do a documentary; Michael Sam starts his own website,marketing his own tee-shirt “Stand with Sam”.
The NFL will have to accept homosexuality on the roster. It exists quietly in baseball, in the NHL. It is accepted on the LPGA Tour, the WTA in tennis, and in womens college athletics to a degree. He showed great strength coming out. Leave it at that, leave the rest of the reasons-the story aside.
But you wonder, as much at Michael Sam, undersized defensive end, slow afoot, likely to be a special teams player or pass rusher, you wonder if he is taking and getting bad advice. He seems to be pushing his sexuality into profit making mode.
Look at me, look at who I am, support what I want to be. Michael Sam needs to deal with being a rookie in the NFL. A very good college player, with a chance to make an NFL roster. I don’t have to be sold he is gay, nor do I want to hear-see-read-nor buy his story. I just want to see how much he can mean to the Rams.
He’s an NFL draft pick. He, to me, doesn’t have to sales pitch me he’s a gay NFL draft pick.