HOT BLAST: What people are saying about Missouri's Michael Sam
Feb 10, 2014 | 1913 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Sam. (AP)
Michael Sam. (AP)
The decision by former Missouri football player Michael Sam to reveal that he is gay has overloaded the Internet with all sorts of commentary about (a.) the player, (b.) his sexual orientation, (c.) gays in the NFL and (d.) whether this is a big deal or not.

I'm not going to highlight the worst of the comments on the Web. They're truly awful. If you want to read them, go somewhere else.

However, there are many good, thoughtful commentaries about Sam out there today. Here are excerpts from a few of the best:

From the New York Times: "Now Mr. Sam enters an uncharted area of the sports landscape. He is making his public declaration before he is drafted, to the potential detriment to his professional career. And he is doing so as he prepares to enter a league with an overtly macho culture, where controversies over homophobia have attracted recent attention."

From NYT Columnist Juliet Macur, "If Sam had played for (Green Bay Coach Vince) Lombardi, he would probably have had a clear, safe chance to shine. Lombardi had a gay brother and preached equal treatment of his players in his locker rooms. He made the rules and punished the dissenters — and that was all his teams needed to fall into line. He showed what could be done to affect locker room culture if coaches just took the lead."

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch Columnist Bryan Burwell, "He spent most of the season not talking to the media right about the time quite a few in-state news organizations were apparently picking up the trail of this landmark story. It surely was no coincidence that Sam never came to the interview room after games, never came to the Monday afternoon weekly interview sessions during the season, or even after games in which he was the star of the day.

"This was all going on right around the time that it was becoming common knowledge among those covering the team from Kansas City to St. Louis that he was gay. However, it was impossible from an ethical standpoint to write that story without Sam actually confirming it. What we largely suspected was that Sam’s season-long media blackout was in direct relationship to the rumors about his sexual orientation.

"What we never learned was whether it was solely Sam’s decision to keep away from the media or if the team, athletics department or university established the media quarantine."

From the Associated Press' Paul Newberry, "A few years ago, I broached the idea of having an openly gay teammate to several players in the Atlanta Braves clubhouse. One freely conceded he would be uncomfortable dressing or showering in front of someone he knew was gay, and I've long suspected he was not alone in that attitude. Anyone who has ever been in a sports locker room knows what a macho world that can be, where distasteful — even hurtful — words are thrown around with shocking frequency."

From The Dallas Morning News' Kevin Sherrington, "Chances are it would rise or fall simply because of his performance later this month at the NFL combine. Teams talk themselves out of players for all sorts of reasons. Passing on one simply because they didn’t want to deal with the distraction doesn’t seem too far-fetched.

"Will team officials ask Sam explicitly about his orientation? They’ve been less impolitic. Jeff Ireland, the Dolphins’ former general manager and a former Cowboys employee, famously asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. He came to regret that question.

"Management of NFL teams shouldn’t care whether Sam is gay or straight. But they’d be doing their due diligence to ask him how he’d handle the reaction of his new teammates."

-- Phillip Tutor 


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