The Way I See It – the NFL and Michael Sam

Are we seriously still at a point where a player telling the world that he’s gay causes that player’s draft stock to nosedive?

There is nothing wrong with his ability to play the game at an elite level, there is nothing criminal in his past or present, there is nothing causing this drop outside of the fact that he likes guys.

Is anyone else reminded of being a little kid and thinking that boys or girls were gross because they had “cooties?” That’s what this sounds like to me. There are grown men and women in the world still who cannot act in a professional manner because someone is “icky.”

Not everyone feels this way about Michael Sam, the defensive end from Missouri. The vast majority of players say that as long as the kid can ball, they’ve got no issue with him.

Some 44 out of 51 players who were anonymously surveyed by ESPN have no issue with a player’s sexual orientation. It’s those other seven players who bug me.

Despite being paid millions of dollars a year to play a game, these grown men are afraid of having someone who likes guys in the locker room with them.

The claim is that Sam’s orientation could be a distraction. From my point of view, the only distraction would come from players who would be more focused on who Sam is dating than the game they’re being paid to play.

From a coach’s and owner’s standpoint, I would think that these players would be a much bigger detriment to the success of my team than the guy who decided to be truthful about whom he is.

I’m willing to bet there have been gay players in the NFL for a long time.

No one has ever come out before Michael Sam, and it’s pretty easy to see why.

Even though the vast majority of the organization doesn’t care what your sexual orientation is, a small minority of people who can’t get over themselves causes problems for everyone involved.

Gay players are forced to sacrifice telling the truth about who they are for avoiding bullying at the hands of bigoted teammates.

That’s really the heart of the argument for anyone who claims that gay players would be a distraction to a team.

They are effectively admitting that they are so wrapped up in disdain and hatred for a specific type of person that they cannot be professional around them, no matter how much they’re being paid.

Personally, I don’t think anyone’s sexual orientation should be a newsworthy thing unless we’re talking about the Pope or someone else whose sexual orientation is explicitly tied to their role.

Until we stop jumping all over these people for simply stating who they are, we’re going to have a problem.

These players and other professionals should not have to sacrifice doing a job they love and are good at just because they’re just a little bit different than what society has told us is normal.

The military rescinded its ban on gays in uniform last year and is stronger for it.

Our armed forces no longer have to hide who they are from anyone and are a more effective fighting force.

If the “distraction” of having openly gay men and women in our military hasn’t caused an epic meltdown, I’m sure that an openly gay player in the NFL won’t either.

It’s time for people to get over themselves.

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