NFL defensive line prospect Michael Sam has come out and said that he is gay in an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Sunday. Sam is eligible for the NFL Draft this May and is projected to go as high as the third round. If drafted, he could be the first ever openly gay NFL player. Sam is fully aware of how big of a deal it is for him to come out publicly. No one has ever done this before, so for him to be the first, that takes guts. He is basically saying I’m an All-American defensive lineman, the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year and I’m gay. Take it or leave it. The NFL and the players need to accept Michael Sam for who he is because he is just like everyone else in the NFL.
Gays or homosexuals get a bad rap as not being as tough as straight men are. That is where I believe a lot of people struggle with the idea of a gay man being in the tough NFL. In our society, the two don’t mix. People tend to not look past these stereotypes.
Assuming Sam is draft (which he is expected to be); he will have to compete for a spot on the roster and for a starting job. This is why Sam is just like everyone else. Think about this, do you think just because Sam is gay, he’s going to give up and be “wimpy” during camp? No. Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean he can’t hit someone in the mouth as hard as the straight guy next to him. He his competing for a job and will work as hard if not harder than anyone else.
Announcing publicly that he is gay will earn Sam respect in whatever locker room he ends up in. At the same time, there will be some people that won’t like him. Look at it this way, in an NFL locker room not everyone gets along. Everyone doesn’t love everyone. So to think that Sam will be in a locker room full of people that 100% hate him or 100% love him is totally unrealistic. There will be a mix, just like if someone didn’t care for someone else for their actions, size, race, religion, bad play, etc.
People are different. But just because someone is different, doesn’t mean they can’t be like everyone else. Same thing goes for Michael Sam. Just because he is gay, doesn’t mean he can’t turn out to be a great NFL football player.