A lot of controversy has risen over the past week with Michael Sam coming out as an openly Gay athlete.
I usually do not try to get into politics, but I will shed some light on the story with my opinion.
It is the 21st century and times are changing. Whether you like it or not, our society is consistently going in a liberal direction. Homosexuals have existed throughout the history of people, and are showing their colors more in recent times.
So why such a big deal?
American culture has driven people to abide by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” mentality. This mind set is becoming an outdated one. Gay people have been in sports for as long as sports have been around. They just have not been open about it. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debate may have been fine for those straight people who are uncomfortable with the thought of gay actions, but what about for the Gay Athletes? You have to think that inside these people, they are torn up. They are battling with this reality that they are a homosexual athlete and they cannot tell the world who they really are due to fear of being judged.
Our society dictates this fear of being judged.
When it really comes down to it, if the guy can play, does it matter if he likes women or men? If he is a team player who can contribute to a win, does it matter what his sexual orientation is? So why is this such a big deal, why are people getting so worked up?
Let’s think about this for a second. The only reason this would be an issue in a locker room is because another player feels uncomfortable being around a gay player. Taking it even deeper, why would this player feel uncomfortable? Not that I have ever been in a Pro-Locker room, but from what I have heard athletes shower together and walk around the locker room naked on a consistent basis. So is that what the homophobic athletes are worried about? They do not want a gay guy to look at their goods?
Stop being so high on yourself, bro.
You think you are such a hot stud, that this gay guy is going to see your junk and immediately try to bend you over and rape you in the shower.
Seriously, though. When it comes down to it, that is the only reason someone could be uncomfortable about having a gay player in the locker room. Players need to be more comfortable with their sexuality and get passed the fact that their is a homosexual athlete among them. And the reality is, there have been plenty of gay athletes in locker rooms throughout time and nothing like this has ever taken place. The fact that another athlete would think anything like this would happen in a locker room is just plain stupid. Additionally, couldn’t you say the fact that you walk around naked around other guys makes you gay? Obviously it does not, when you know yourself that you are straight. It is all about adjusting your mentality to a modern, 21st century approach.
The truth though is that this will bring attention to whatever locker room Michael Sam enters in the 2014 season. The media will surround the team and it may be a distraction. In that regard, I understand why you may not want an openly Gay Athlete on your team. But every player fits every team differently. Some teams like controversial players, and other teams like players with no baggage. Look at San Diego Chargers and them drafting Manti T’eo. A handful of team passed on the outstanding college player because of his fake-girlfriend controversy. T’eo had a tremendous amount of media attention throughout the draft and entering the 2013 season. The Chargers handled the situation excellent by keeping T’eo away from reporters and protecting him to enable his growth as a pro player.
Now let’s look at this specific case, in Michael Sam. The guy is a great player. I hear NFL scouts on TV saying this guy is nothing more than a middle round pick. I have seen other mock drafts where he is projected to be drafted in the 2nd round. Michael Sam was a unanimous 1st Team All American and was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Some scouts say “I do not pay any attention to Conference Player of the Year Awards.” This may have some validity in weaker conferences, but the SEC is known as the best Conference in College Football. Furthermore, the SEC is widely regarded as the best defensive conference in the nation. SEC has historically produced plenty of defensive pro’s.
Lets look at the last 7 SEC Defensive Player of the Years:
2012 – Jarvis Jones
2011 – Morris Claiborne
2010 – Patrick Peterson
2009 – Rolando McClain
2008 – Eric Berry
2007 – Glen Dorsey
2006 – Patrick Willis…
***EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE PLAYERS WAS DRAFTED IN THE 1ST ROUND; None of these players were drafted past the 11th pick***
The bottom line is, Michael Sam is a good player who has proven himself in the College Rankings. With the combine and pro days coming up, his draft stock may rise or fall. With that said, he is still talented enough, and should be drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The thing Americans and sports fans have to realize is that this whole situation is inevitable. There are gay athletes everywhere, and eventually someone was going to come out. This is the first of many. There will be a growing period and players will have to get used to this new dynamic.
The key will be is how this effects the locker room, how this effects team collaboration and bonding. The truth is, it will only go as far as the straight athletes allow it to. It is solely on the straight athletes to take this gay player under their wing and treat him like they would any other teammate. They need to band together as brothers and fight in the trenches. They will need to joke around and make fun of each other just like guys do. Michael Sam will need to be open to joking about his sexual orientation. Often times, good friends tease each other about anything just to make it into a bonding experiment. Sam should embrace this in order to make the uncomfortable straight players feel a little more at ease as these actions promote a friendly atmosphere. Example: Michael Sam gets a clutch sack in an NFL game and his teammate says “I love you, you big gay mother fucker!!” and Sam says back: “I love you to, you dumb piece of shit!” It will take both sides to help make this situation fizzle away into the normality of our society.