by HALEY MILLAN Editor-in-chief
A new barrier is broken in the world of football now that Michael Sam, the 2014 NFL draft prospect, told the world through “The New York Times” and ESPN, “I am an openly, proud gay man.”
There is a high likelihood that he will be drafted, making him the first openly gay player in the NFL. Sam is a defensive lineman from Missouri and also the SEC player of the year.
Sam said he has known about his sexual orientation since he was young. He claims that he would not have had the strength to come out if his Missouri teammates had not given him so much support during the last semester. He also said he is aware of all of the negative comments and overall negativity he will face because of his orientation.
There is talk that Sam will be a middle round pick. However, some say that this announcement will negatively affect his stocks and lower him to a later round pick. Others argue against that idea, bringing up that his skills and not his sexual orientation should affect his pick. Also, NFL scouts and teams have known for quite some time that Sam is gay.
“If Michael Sam being gay affects a team from picking him, I think we need to reevaluate the system. Being gay does not affect a person’s ability to play football well. Especially if he was going to be picked, that new information shouldn’t change anyone’s mind,” says senior Melissa Pontoriero.
There are also critics who say that football is not ready for an openly gay player. There have been comments made that having a gay player in the locker room will make the other players feel uncomfortable. Another excuse against gay players is that anti-gay slurs are still very common throughout the game.
An anonymous senior says, “I think it’s good that Michael Sam is going to get the conversation going about gays in football because we are all equal people. I can also see how it may be a little uncomfortable in the locker room, but that is no excuse and shouldn’t hold him back from playing his game.”
Luckily for Sam, there has been an overwhelming amount of support from people all over the nation. The positivity overbears the negatives comments.
Dale Hansen, WFAA sports director, addressed the issue and made an interesting point: “You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far!”
Many sports fans and the gay community anticipate the day that an athlete coming out will not become breaking news.
What do you think about Michael Sam’s big announcement?