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Monday, February 10, 2014

Will Sam be accepted?

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam made headlines Sunday by announcing to the world something that was a pretty well-known fact among scouts and everyone at his college campus. Sam is gay.

Sam wanted to get out - no pun intended - in front of the story for the few remaining teams that didn't know he was gay. Considering he was pretty open about it at Missouri, there couldn't have been many NFL teams that didn't know.

Now, the focus shifts to his NFL future.

A 6-2, 260-pound defensive end, Sam is something that is perhaps even more dreaded than being gay. He's a tweener - too small to play end in many schemes, perhaps not fast enough or flexible enough to be an outside linebacker.

That will be what teams focus on with Sam over the next couple of months, not who he's sleeping with.

Currently, Sam is viewed as a mid-round draft pick. And I don't expect that to change a great deal, unless he shows at the NFL combine that he's capable of moving to outside linebacker.

Though he was an All-America player at Missouri last season, that doesn't necessarily mean his production will translate to the NFL. He's got to prove he can do it.

And if that happens, his teammates will accept him, gay or not.

Sam is certainly not the first gay football player. He's just the first one to announce it on the national stage.

Will it cause some teammates to avoid him in the locker room? Perhaps.

But that can be dealt with. In a locker room with 60 or so grown men, you can bet there are players who don't like each other or don't approve of everyone's lifestyle. Most of the time, it's not a problem. They just choose not to hang out together or see each other socially. It's not a big deal.

In today's society, no player would dare speak out against him. Nobody wants to be labelled a homophobe any more than they want to be labelled a racist or misogynist.

And if Sam can actually play the game at the NFL level and help his team win, nobody will care what he does in his private life.

Sam's biggest problem with be on game days when he has to deal with taunts from opposing teams and fans.


Anonymous said...

Just keep Cody Wallace away from his yam bag and he'll be alright.

Anonymous said...

So tired of watching the media freak out every time someone admits their gay. Now he's a "hero" and "brave" for coming out.

I could care less.

Anonymous said...
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Steve-O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve-O said...

Professional sports teams love only one thing, PRODUCTION! They will overlook just about any perceived issue from drug use, to egocentric behavior, to borderline criminal activity... As long as the player produces on the field of play. We've seen Manny being Manny, Michael Irvin in his pimped out fur coat facing drug charges, Kobe Bryant facing rape charges (and Big Ben almost facing them), and OchoCinco's incessant self aggrandizement. It's all good until production diminishes and the drama outweighs the benefit of their service.

Sam's play at the NFL level is suspect and his sexuality is not a big deal but the drama surrounding it is. His biggest challenge will be finding a team that will put up with the drama that contrasts with his limited talent.... Ironically we've seen this same litmus test with Tim Tebow whose 3-ring circus far outweighed his play at the QB position.

I'm guessing someone will take a chance on Sam but he probably won't be able to outlast the drama that is the national media... Particularly that 24 hr Sports Channel in Bristol Connecticut that will make a 24/7 story.

Mark said...

That last paragraph was right on. The players and staff, who are held accountable for anything and everything they say, will use some judgement on their words. Obnoxious fans and forum commenters who can hide in the anonymity of the crowd might be "brave" enough to be detestable.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 11:46. Bryce Kane 1405 west main ave jersey. See me anytime mark

Mark said...

@anon 11:46 - You must be the one that got Smart to snap in that basketball game, with that potty mouth of yours. (Oops, now I can be censured for using "potty".)

As you might guess, using "wiener" in a joke is a far cry from a lot of the stuff that gets slung out there.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Steelers don't take him. Not cause he's gay, I just don't want to hear about him 24/7.

Whatever team takes him will be praised and then scrutinized by the media. Should anything that could be construed as discrimination happen that team will be destroyed by the media. The narrative would take over their whole season.

Anonymous said...

Sorry thought u were referring to me Mark

Dale Lolley said...

That's what gets me the most, 90 percent of the time, it's the TV media pushing this stuff constantly. I'm not saying there aren't some doofuses in print, but, at least on the print side, we do the story once. Then it's done.

The others are looking for soundbites or trolling for a reaction. It's why print guys generally hate the Super Bowl media day. That is what that day is all about.

NineFingers said...

In other news...

Welcome back Joey Porter!