The hot topic: Michael Sam.
Let’s first just say a big “thank you.” “Thank you” Mr. Sam for shedding light on an important yet at times overlooked topic in professional sports, particularly the NFL. The NBA already got Jason Collins, a veteran player who finally came out back in April 2013. But having an up and coming NFL player come out confidently is very refreshing.
Second, another big “Thank You” for your courage Mr. Sam. Not only are you the SEC’s Defensive Player of the year, but you could perhaps be the most talked about NFL player of the 2014 season for your courage and frankly, balls, for being an “open, proud gay” man in football. Sorry Richard Sherman.
Some say time doesn’t seem to really move forward in sports, particularly the NFL (and Baseball….jesus they just introduced instant replay for god sakes). The NFL’s conservative nature is almost palpable with their old school General Managers and white washed demeanor. Hell, it took them almost 2 decades to realize that brain damage is a bad thing in football.
But I commend the NFL for taking the news so well, expressing open acceptance of Sam entering the NFL draft this spring. Then again….why wouldn’t they? Why would the NFL even come out with a statement to validate their efforts towards tolerance? Shouldn’t every sports organization in this point and time already be doing that?
I get it. We want to believe that we are all living in a world of that is more accepting of others. (Yea, tell that to FOX) But are we really? Is the NFL really accepting Michael Sam into their world with open arms?
Well apparently, Fortune 500 companies are. This news comes according to Sam’s agent Joe Barkett, who says, “Every time I’m on the phone, I’m getting phone calls. There’s always one from a company expressing their interest in Michael. Name any type of industry, we’ve probably heard from a company in their sector in the last 48 hours.”
Companies see is “market potential” for their monetary gain, completely taking advantage of his emerging “individuality.” Sam just now has to pick and choose his endorsements wisely so as to not have the public perceive him as a sell out using his sexuality for profit.
The first step for change is actual change. Michael Sam now represents the change that is coming to the NFL whether it likes it or not. With all the NFL insiders claiming that his draft status will be harmed is crap. Statements like that are more detrimental to themselves and their television station than Sam, making them all look like ignorant douches. The NFL has yet to accept Michael Sam and everything he represents but has the ideal opportunity to take center stage for the recognition of gay athletes come Draft Day.
If what some NFL insiders say is true concerning Sam’s negative draft status, then we truly are an intolerant society. But it is highly unlikely that he won’t be drafted because the dude got SEC Defensive Player of the Year. DUDE, the SEC- The almighty dominant conference in college football, the greatest college football teams in the world right? What team wouldn’t want that player?! They be crazy if they didn’t draft him. (And just think of all the popularity of having the first “openly gay” player on your team). Tebow couldn’t do it, but maybe Sam can. Just Kidding Timmy!
Michael Sam will be the change. He will get drafted. He will play. He will persevere. And he will forever be a shining example for other gay athletes to be honest, forthright and strong. Thank you Mr. Sam.
The only one who has everything to lose in this fight is the NFL. So don’t fuck it up boys.