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NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam Announces He's Gay

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/sports/michael-sam-college-football-star-says-he-is-gay-ahead-of-nfl-draft.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=SP_MSC_20140209&_r=1
Quote:
Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them.

As Michael Sam, a defensive lineman, began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. With that, Mr. Sam set himself on a path to become the first publicly gay player in the National Football League.

“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,” Mr. Sam said Sunday in an interview with The New York Times, the first time he had spoken publicly about his sexual orientation.

Mr. Sam, a senior listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 260 pounds, went on to a stellar season as Missouri finished 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl. He was a first-team all-American and was named the defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, widely considered the top league in college football. Teammates voted him Missouri’s most valuable player.

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.

As the pace of the gay rights movement has accelerated in recent years, the sports industry has changed relatively little for men, with no publicly gay athletes in the N.F.L., the N.B.A., the N.H.L. or Major League Baseball. Against this backdrop, Mr. Sam could become a symbol for the country’s gay rights movement or a flash point in a football culture war — or both.

Mr. Sam, 24, is projected to be chosen in the early rounds of the N.F.L. draft in May, ordinarily an invitation to a prosperous pro career. He said he decided to come out publicly now because he sensed that rumors were circulating.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” said Mr. Sam, who also spoke with ESPN on Sunday. “I just want to own my truth.”
post #2 of 92
Good for him. I hope it doesn't hurt his career, but I'm not holding my breath.
post #3 of 92

I'm glad he's at a point in his life that he can be comfortable with who he is. I'll be curious to see where he gets drafted.

post #4 of 92
So much bias in the world.. He should be proud of who he is... The rally's in the United States for gay equal rights are growing. Numbers of people who are showing their support is overwhelming. Discrimination or bias will not be tolerated.. Numbers are strong and growing

Good for him


Good for him
post #5 of 92
Wow... that took balls. Coming out will definitely affect his draft position and his career... for better or worse. Smart to do it now though, teams know the controversy they're drafting, and teammates aren't in the dark. Could be a steal if he drops down past his projected slot!
post #6 of 92

I couldn't care less.

 

I guess others may feel differently though.

post #7 of 92

I don't really care. What he does in his private life doesn't affect me one way or another. I do have to question why he felt it was necessary to get a publicist and turn this into a big public affair. He's a grown man and he can do what he wants. I don't condemn him or his orientation but I don't really need or want to hear/read about it.

post #8 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPtheKid View Post
 

I don't really care. What he does in his private life doesn't affect me one way or another. I do have to question why he felt it was necessary to get a publicist and turn this into a big public affair. He's a grown man and he can do what he wants. I don't condemn him or his orientation but I don't really need or want to hear/read about it.

 

Cause to change the perception of society, some people need to stand as a symbol. Maybe he's that type of person who wants to be a figure head for the movement to push for a less "Don't ask don't tell" mentality in professional sports. 

post #9 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Cause to change the perception of society, some people need to stand as a symbol. Maybe he's that type of person who wants to be a figure head for the movement to push for a less "Don't ask don't tell" mentality in professional sports. 


Interesting point. I suppose you're right. Changing perception in society does seem to require someone to spearhead the cause and act as a rallying point. I would not want to be that type of person so I guess that point of view wasn't super clear to me initially but I definitely hear what you're saying.

post #10 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Cause to change the perception of society, some people need to stand as a symbol. Maybe he's that type of person who wants to be a figure head for the movement to push for a less "Don't ask don't tell" mentality in professional sports. 

He did state that he did not do it to become an activist or symbol.  He felt he just needed to make it public.

post #11 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

He did state that he did not do it to become an activist or symbol.  He felt he just needed to make it public.

Right ... his entire team has known for this whole season, and apparently so did a lot of other people.  He didn't want to be outed by rumors.

 

Quote:

Sam's decision to speak out now -- in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times -- comes after his experience two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, where, he said, many already seemed aware of his sexual orientation.

 

"I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he said. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me."

Also kind of surprised anybody says they "don't care" about this.  I get that you might not care about the sexuality of one person whom you do not know (nobody should), but that is not what this is about.  This is a monumental event in our current social landscape.

post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Also kind of surprised anybody says they "don't care" about this.  I get that you might not care about the sexuality of one person whom you do not know (nobody should), but that is not what this is about.  This is a monumental event in our current social landscape.

 

I don't care, but I acknowledge that it is a big event. :-D

post #13 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Right ... his entire team has known for this whole season, and apparently so did a lot of other people.  He didn't want to be outed by rumors.

 

Also kind of surprised anybody says they "don't care" about this.  I get that you might not care about the sexuality of one person whom you do not know (nobody should), but that is not what this is about.  This is a monumental event in our current social landscape.

 

Why?  Certainly not because of his celebrity.  Because of what he does for a living?  Other than that he may be the first to play in the NFL to publicly "come out" (I really don't know), how is it different than someone in any sport or male-dominated occupation, of which there are many......including the military?

 

Sorry, I just don't understand how something like this qualifies as monumental.  And if it does, that's a sad reflection of what we find important these days.....

post #14 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

 

Why?  Certainly not because of his celebrity.  Because of what he does for a living?  Other than that he may be the first to play in the NFL to publicly "come out" (I really don't know), how is it different than someone in any sport or male-dominated occupation, of which there are many......including the military?

 

Sorry, I just don't understand how something like this qualifies as monumental.  And if it does, that's a sad reflection of what we find important these days.....


+1

post #15 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

 

Why?  Certainly not because of his celebrity.  Because of what he does for a living?  Other than that he may be the first to play in the NFL to publicly "come out" (I really don't know), how is it different than someone in any sport or male-dominated occupation, of which there are many......including the military?

 

Sorry, I just don't understand how something like this qualifies as monumental.  And if it does, that's a sad reflection of what we find important these days.....

Exactly, Robbie Rogers has been playing for the LA Galaxy as an openly gay soccer player for a year or two now as well.

post #16 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

Why?  Certainly not because of his celebrity.

Nope.  Never heard of him prior to last week.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

Because of what he does for a living?

Yep.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

Other than that he may be the first to play in the NFL to publicly "come out" (I really don't know)

Precisely.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

how is it different than someone in any sport or male-dominated occupation, of which there are many......including the military?

An openly gay male athlete in the US??  There aren't "many" of these right now.  In fact, in the NFL, NBA, MLB, hockey there are precisely ZERO.  This is why its monumental.

 

I will say this though ... if everybody treated it like you do, then it wouldn't be a big deal in the least.  But precisely because there are so many people out there who apparently do care about a strangers sexuality, and have problems with gay athletes, and have problems with gays marrying, etc, etc, too many people are forced to hide who they are, and this guy is the first to say "enough."  One step towards, hopefully, everybody going back to not caring about a strangers sexuality.  In the meantime, it is a big deal (to some). ;)

post #17 of 92

Here's an interesting list of openly gay athletes.  The fact that I've never heard of the vast majority of them tells me that it's just not a big deal.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lesbian,_gay,_bisexual,_and_transgender_sportspeople

 

I just don't see the NFL as somehow different than professional soccer worldwide, wrestling, swimming, rugby, or whatever. Certainly not to the point of "monumental".  ...

 

I guess others think otherwise though.....

post #18 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

I just don't see the NFL as somehow different than professional soccer worldwide, wrestling, swimming, rugby, or whatever. Certainly not to the point of "monumental".  ...

 

I guess others think otherwise though.....

 

Here's why it's different: the NFL is the dominant sport in the U.S., where we're also the farthest behind the times in accepting stuff like homosexuality.

 

If there are openly gay soccer players, great, but that kind of stuff hasn't penetrated the minds of dumbass U.S. citizens (I hate using the word "Americans" - people from Uruguay are "Americans").

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