Michael Sam told his teammates at Missouri last summer that he was gay. The Tigers won the
Cotton Bowl and finished the season 12-2. Sam was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the
Year. Talk about being distracted.
This just in: athletes and teammates don't care about a person's sexual orientation, especially in
the professional ranks. Every player that makes it to that level is an independent contractor. Most
of them say the right thing about playing for the city and their teammates, but the bottom line is,
baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer are individual sports masquerading as team
games. Invariably, the best talent that plays together as a team wins everything.
That player in the batter's box facing a 95-mile-an-hour fastball doesn't care that a teammate
is gay. A defensive back that turns into a heat seeking missile programmed to destroy a receiver,
could give two cents what a teammate is doing later that night and with whom. They just don't
Athletes put on the happy face about being team players and all, but at the end of the day, they
are just like everybody else: They worry about taking care of themselves and their families.
Nobody has ever brought a teammate, good or bad, into a contract negotiation. No player was
rewarded for being a "team guy". It's all about numbers and your performance.
An athlete, especially ones in the NFL, have such a small window to earn security and be
'set for life.' Do you really think they care about another one being a homosexual? Sure, there
will be ignorant athletes who might say the wrong thing about a gay athlete, but the list is
a million miles long of ignorant and just plan intelligence challenged athletes who put their
foot in their mouth. God, it happens in all walks of life, doesn't it. Even well-educated people
like AOL Tim Armstrong say really stupid things that offend people.
When it comes to athletes or celebrities coming out, the only people that really seem to make
a big deal of it are members of the media. Look at them after the Michael Sam story broke.
ESPN is on the campus of Missouri re-tracing the events how Sam told everybody he was
gay. Does it really matter? Nobody on the team cared and it was five months ago. Good, grief.
There have been articles written about the impact of Sam's sexuality in the NFL, where
reporters are using "anonymous sources" from team officials who said it will be a problem.
First of all, when I see "anonymous sources" in an article and laugh. It has about as much
credibility as Lance Armstrong talking about ethics in sports. Many writers, who want to
make a splash on the national scene, not to mention be "trending on Twitter", will use that
garbage knowing they don't have to reveal their sources. And most of those sources who
have been listed as "NFL assistants" could be so far down on the food-chain it's laughable.
The 23-year-old intern hired to put together videotape can be considered an "NFL assistant."
It's a joke, really.
When Jason Collins, an NBA veteran announced that he was gay at the end of last season,
the media fell all over themselves reporting the story. They compared Collins to Jackie
Robinson for breaking a cultural barrier and being the "first active" professional athlete to
come out as a homosexual. Trouble was, Collins was hardly active. His season was over,
and as 35-year-old NBA, end-of-the-bench journeyman, his career was likely over, too.
Collins didn't land with an NBA team. Is he still considered active? Collins gained fame
and celebrity without having to endure an ounce of what Jackie Robinson went through.
Nobody yelled at him, called him vicious names or told him he couldn't go to the same
bathroom or eat in the same restaurants as his white teammates.
When CNN news anchor Don Lemon announced he was gay last year, nobody made a
big deal out of it except the media. His co-workers didn't abandon him or say they didn't
want to be near him. They accepted Lemon for who he is.
His co-workers have jobs to do, mortgages to pay, bills to keep up with, and families that
depend on them. They, like professional athletes, and the rest of us, really, are focused on
what we have to do to keep our jobs. Getting tied up in Lemon's personal life, just as it is
with Sam's, is a waste of time and energy.
Will everybody accept Sam in the NFL and society? No, but that is just the world we live
in. There are people in the South who cheer wildly for the Afro-American athlete who
helps their college team win on Saturday, and then they're calling him every racist name
in the book the rest of the week.
When someone walks into a room, people make judgements on how they look. They form
opinions without even talking with the person. They decide if they're going to accept them
right then and there. It happens, it's life. We cannot change people.
Nobody in the NFL is out to change Michael Sam. If he can help a team win football
games, he will be a valuable commodity whether he's gay or not. Michael Vick is a
convicted felon who committed terrible crimes. The Philadelphia Eagles welcomed him
to their organization because they thought he could help them win a Super Bowl.
They eventually signed him to a $100 million contract. A convicted felon.
And what is Michael Sam? Exactly, he's a darn good football player who might be able
to help a team win football games, no matter how the media wants to spin it.