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Fans flock senior defensive end Michael Sam as he carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after the win vs Texas A&M.
It now looks like the National Football League will get its first openly gay player, not by having a current player come out but by having an openly gay athlete drafted out of college:
Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri and the Associated Press' SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay in an interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Sunday.

Sam stated publicly what his teammates and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: "I am an openly, proud gay man." [...]

Sam led the SEC with 11.5 sacks, and 19 tackles for a loss. Most NFL draft projections see him as a likely mid-round pick, with some saying Sam could go as high as the third round, with a possible position switch to outside linebacker. He is rated as the 12th-best outside pass rusher in the draft by ESPN Scouts Inc.

The fact that Sam has been out to his team all season—a successful season for Missouri—should help quiet some of the "what about the locker room" chatter that always seems to come up in discussions of gay athletes. And indeed, notwithstanding the way Sam's team embraced him and went on to succeed, some of the NFL's bigots are out giving blind quotes about how he's damaged goods now:
"I don't think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet," said an NFL player personnel assistant. "In the coming decade or two, it's going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it's still a man's-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It'd chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room."
The polished way of defending bigotry is talking about the distraction of the media focus on Sam and the team that drafts him—the perfect self-perpetuating excuse, since no matter how far the rest of the world progresses, there will always be a media focus on the first out NFL player.

Not hiding behind blind quotes, the NFL released a statement saying that "We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014," and many NFL players past and present offered support, with Deion Sanders making a crucial point:

Michael Sam isn't the 1st gay player in the NFL although he is the 1st 2 come out.#realtalk Let's show him love like a family member. Truth
@DeionSanders
The question remains, though, if the NFL will concretely act on the good will its official spokesman and so many of its members are offering.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:27 AM PST.

Also republished by The Wide World of Sports and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Step 1) Talk about how its not a big deal.. (4+ / 0-)

    Step 2) Wall to wall coverage...

    •  Very big deal. One of the last barriers. (7+ / 0-)

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:44:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's an odd balance... (0+ / 0-)

      Both proclaiming that it isn't a big deal- or at least shouldn't be, while simultaneously propping this poor young man up as the Jackie Robinson of gay athletes.

      I'm not sure he wants that role, but it's his whether he likes it or not.  Hopefully before he retires, it'll be completely normal for gay athletes to "come out," to the point where the news won't even cover it at all.  No one will care.  No press conference, no nothing.

      That's the goal.  But first, somebody has to be the guinea pig.  For some stupid reason, our society requires that first a gay person must prove that they are just like anyone else, and can still do the same job.

  •  Complexity in the midst of macho culture (4+ / 0-)

    .. such a wonderful thing

  •  The hard truth is, (0+ / 0-)

    no team will draft him. They just don't want the controversy.

    •  Needs a "Branch Rickey" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dillonfence

      Who will it be?

      •  Maybe the Washington team...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tampaedski

        after all, no team HQed near the nation's capital could  possibly be discriminatory.

      •  what he really needs... (0+ / 0-)

        is a current player to come out. that would soften the "circus" problem considerably, if Sam didn't have to carry that burden all by himself.

        if no one does, though, he really does fall deep in the draft, the Patriots will snatch him up. no way they'd let some secondary consideration like sexuality or even the media circus keep them from taking a player who has fallen too deeply in the draft for his talent, especially one who fills a glaring need  for them like a pass rusher this year.

        "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain

        by GrimReefa on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:01:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We'll see but it's the correct point (0+ / 0-)

      This is not up to the NFL. An individual team has to draft him. There's nothing the Commissioner can do about it.

    •  he'll be drafted (22+ / 0-)

      He will be drafted, he is one of the best defensive players available in the draft. Teams want to win the Superbowl. A borderline player would not get drafted but I expect he will be drated and once he shows he can play no one will care if he is gay.

    •  Disagree (5+ / 0-)

      He was originally projected a 3rd/4th rounder.   I think it's likely he stays a 3rd/4th rounder.

      There will be teams that shy away from the controvery, especially in.. less accepting states.   But there are a lot of teams that have needs at DE he would take a shot for him, and will look at the controversy as a way to get other teams to pass, making him a cheaper draft pickup.

      That's harsh, but NFL teams do that all the time.   Someone will snag him.

      How he turns out in the NFL is hard to know, he's a decent prospect at DE, but there were concerned he fattened up against shitty opponents this year, and that is what put hm 3rd/4th.

      If he goes undrafted, then boo to the NFL, because that's the only real justification for him going undrafted is using it against him.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:53:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  6th if he is lucky (0+ / 0-)

        Teams have already passed on multiple players who were known to be gay but not open.  There are very few teams who are willing to make a mid draft pick their biggest story.  

        Even money says he is an UDFA

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:22:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jerry Jones will draft him if no one else does. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, nightsweat, Cali Scribe, Matt Z

      Yes, it would offend some of his fan base, but

      1)  There are plenty who are not offended who will quickly
            snap up their tickets.

      2)  Fans expect to be offended by Jerry anyway.

      3)  Football fans have short memories.

      4)  Football is the true religion of most fans.  The NFL rule
           book* says nothing about homosexuality, so homophobia
           is not biblical, at least not after kickoff.

      5)  Jerry needs football players, not fundie choirboys.

      6)  Right now he would draft the devil himself if the devil
            promised not to choke in the fourth quarter.

      7)  Despite his many shortcomings, I have never seen a
           prejudiced bone in Jerry Jones' body.

      Now, notwithstanding the fond memories Cowboys fans have of Tom Landry, it would likely have been a different story during his era.

      *The Newest New Testament
       

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:16:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some one will pick him up.... (0+ / 0-)

        Especially, if he falls down the draft board.  Projected at 3rd or 4th round, if he is available in the 5th or 6th round I expect there are several teams that will take that deal.  I was thinking Seahawks considering how many late draft picks have worked out for them.

    •  Of course he'll be drafted. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stewarjt

      He's an elite talent.  A team would be insane not to pick him because of this.

      If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

      by Dem Beans on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:27:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

        He's undersized for defensive line in the NFL. If he has the ability to become an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or if he can put on 25 or 30 pounds without losing much if any speed then he might pan out, but scouts will look at him as a "tweener" maybe not having the pursuit skills for a linebacker and too small for an end. Somebody will take a chance on him in the middle to late rounds most likely.

    •  Let the haters hate...49er's baby! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf

      We'd take him in a heartbeat. We know there is no connection between where you put your dick and how you perform on the field.

      Niners!

      Left Coast Libertarian

      by pacspeed on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:36:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's a matter of causing an uproar in your (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf, Cassandra Waites

      existing locker room. If a team in SF, Oak, NY, Bost. Chi, etc. can get their players to sign on, they'll probably take the opportunity to get a major defensive talent.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:45:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He's the 9th ranked defensive end (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JGibson

      (though he may end up switching to outside linebacker because of his size) and projected to be a 3rd round pick at the most.

      There are plenty of teams in need of defensive help (like the current AFC champion) that they'd be idiots to pass him up. He'd probably do better with a team in a state where they're not a bunch of homophobes; my 49ers come to mind, but also the NY teams, maybe Seattle (not that they need the help). Since he's a Mizzou hero, he could even be okay in St. Louis.

      There've already been rumors about him with NFL scouts for several years. Personally, I think there's less distraction now that he's out than if we had TMZ and Deadspin dogging his tail all season.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:12:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  good for him. (4+ / 0-)

    hopefully a team will take a chance.

    It's my belief there's a good number of gay and bisexual men playing football deep in the closet. This may get them to come out, or not.

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

    by terrypinder on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:37:33 AM PST

  •  We live in a sad society (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf

    when it's a story that a human feels the need to have to "come out".  A football player should be judged on their ability to play the game - not their sexual preference.
    When will people just get over it?  Maybe this will get our society to that point but ones sexual choices shouldn't never even be a topic in 2014.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:38:47 AM PST

    •  Relative to what? (4+ / 0-)

      This wouldn't have been a story before, because he never would have come out before, because he would have known that he would face nothing but negativity for his decision.

      But we live in an era where gay rights and tolerance are making huge strides, and its evident in the tweets that current and former players (even asshole bully Richie Incognito!) are making in support of Sam. It's also evident in the fact that Sam came out to his teammates at Missouri back in August and had little or no problems in his locker room.

      This is an exciting reflection of the era we live in, not a sad one.

      "Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." - Mark Twain

      by GrimReefa on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:40:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot Deon's first comment on Twitter (0+ / 0-)

    He said the usual bull shit about we are all sinners and although we hate the sin, we can love the sinner.

    Paraphrased

    ...the GOP seems perfectly willing to hold their breath until the whole country turns Blue.

    by tommy2tone on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:40:09 AM PST

    •  Yeah, don't paraphrase... (9+ / 0-)

      ...if you aren't going to tell the whole story.  Here's what Deion had to say across several tweets:



      Oh, and THIS was Sanders' FIRST tweet on the subject: And here's a response to a critic calling him out:

      ...and another response to a critic:

      So, let's take a step back and look at this.  Here's a Christian in the public eye (a TV personality and former NFL player) whose first comment was to applaud Sam's honesty and to pray that Sam gets to continue his career in the NFL.  Yes, sure, you can attack Sanders for considering homosexuality a sin, but here's the thing: This is as "good" and "tolerant" a response as you can expect to get from anyone who believes that!.  He even responded to critics by acknowledging his own sin and the belief "sin is sin" and (more importantly) we're called to love each other.

      I'll say it again - Sanders' response boiled down to "ok, not my thing but I applaud your honesty and wish you well"...and isn't that darned close to the very DEFINITION of tolerance?

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:23:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's also a total badass... (11+ / 0-)

    It shows how far we've come in just a few years. While I know he faces different peer pressures as an AA football player, I didn't find his coming out to be particularly revolutionary....and that's good. In fact, I found it sort of curious that anyone would care....again, that's good.

    What I do find particularly wonderful, however, is that there is no denying his talent. He's going to obliterate any misconceptions about gays not being tough or "manly" enough to throw the opposing running backs into the stands...

  •  So what's the deal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susans

    with the rock in his hand?

    "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around..."

    by cgvjelly on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:40:13 AM PST

  •  Jason Collins (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theslinger, ksuwildkat

    No NBA team picked him up even though reserve centers are always in great demand.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:40:24 AM PST

    •  Collins is at the end (5+ / 0-)

      of a rather undistinguished career, which explains why he's having a hard time finding a job, as well as his decision to come out--he knew it wasn't going to have too many repercussions re: his employment.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:52:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jason Collin's situation is the first thing I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melvynny

      thought of also. A role playing big man who plays good D and does the dirty work, with an excellent solid citizen in the locker room reputation. He comes out and most of the NBA says- "no problem with me that he's gay", yet he never was signed again.

      The price of anything is the amount of life we are willing to exchange for it.

      by theslinger on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, don't read too much into that... (0+ / 0-)

        As has been noted, Collins waited until his career was effectively over, and there are TONS of 'role playing big men' to be had.

        Remember is that, when it comes to the guys at the end of an NBA bench, it's far cheaper to find a new 'role-playing big man' than it is to pay a veteran.  The team can go find a rookie and pay him $490K, they can go with a 5-year veteran and pay him $1.027M, or they can sign a 10-year veteran and cough up $1.4M.

        When it's a million dollars cheaper per year to sign a younger (and, presumably, stronger and healthier) player, what do you expect teams to do?

        Any 12-year veteran post with career numbers of 3.5 ppg and 3.6 rpg is going to have a hard time finding a team.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:39:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Lakers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Peace JD

      hell they just need 5 healthy guys.  They should have Collins on speed dial.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:24:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He was a journeyman end of the bench guy (0+ / 0-)

      When he was in his prime and now he's way past that. I'm not shocked that he was never picked up. His coming out might have played a role, but his lack of ability to deliver on the court probably played more of one.

  •  Gonna take a courageous coach or GM (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Betty Pinson, wishingwell

    Like Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB, Sam is going to need a courageous "Branch Rickey" to let the team know that they are sticking with the plan no matter what and anyone not on board will be dealt with.

    Come on guys, someone here has a chance to do something more important than football.  Who will it be?  Who will they be making movies like "41" about in 50 years?

    •  Paul Allen and Pete Carroll (0+ / 0-)

      are not likely to have a problem with drafting him.  Or stealing him from the rest of the league in other words. By all accounts without this being public knowledge he was considered a 3rd to late round draft pick.

      Putting on the spectacles of science in expectation of finding an answer to everything looked at signifies inner blindness. -- J(ames) Frank Dobie

      by cactusflinthead on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:20:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Neither would Jed York (0+ / 0-)

        and Jim Harbaugh -- not sure if they've got any linebackers who are getting long in the tooth (or too expensive for the salary cap) where they'd want to take a flyer on him. And they pick ahead of the Seahawks. Not sure I'd want to take him with a 1st round pick, but maybe low 2nd round wouldn't be too much a reach.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:20:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They need a 1st round pick to do this (0+ / 0-)

    Tons of teams will pass on a 3rd round DE

  •  Michael as a gay sportsfan, I am SO proud of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, wishingwell, Ian S, Glenn45, zooecium

    you. You totally rock. Somebody had to do it, and you had the spine!!

  •  Hmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Ian S

    Open statement from Sam, anonymous statements from scouts.

    It remains to be seen whether the NFL will be ready for an openly gay player - although I'm very confident that it will prove itself admirably.

    However, those scouts prove that the NFL is no longer  a place to be an open homophobe.

  •  So some "NFL personal assistant" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NormAl1792, kyril

    is sad. Who cares what some flunky thinks.

    Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

    by jiffypop on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 06:51:24 AM PST

    •  Um...that's "player personnel assistant"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...as in "the folks in charge of the team's personnel."

      These are the guys who, (usually) alongside the head coach, map out their team's draft strategy, contract structure, and overall balance of the team's roster.

      So, what the article names a "player personnel assistant" could very well be an assistant director of player personnel - the #2/#3 guy on the 'front office' side of player management.

      Here's the job description for one NFL team's 'assistant director of pro personnel':

      In his current position, [this guy] is responsible for assisting [Director of Pro Personnel] in the evaluation and acquisition of free agents and trades in addition to advance scouting and overseeing assignments of other professional football leagues. He assists in the coordination of player workouts and visits while also executing cross-check evaluations for the NFL Draft assigned by [Director of Player Personnel].
      This is DEFINITELY NOT a "personal assistant."

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:50:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, the Irony! (8+ / 0-)
    ...at this point in time it's still a man's-man game.
  •  Just so the parameters are set correctly (0+ / 0-)

    He was projected anywhere from a mid round draft pick to not being drafted at all BEFORE this news. I absolutely do not doubt the homophobia in the front offices of at least some NFL teams. I do not doubt there are GMs who would not draft him because he has come out. We should also be mindful however that if he is not drafted or if he doesn't go until a late round that homophobia may not be the ONLY thing going on. Oh, and good for him. I hope his decision to do this brings him the peace to live as himself he deserves.

  •  now this is an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S

    example of being a man and standing up for what you believe in.
    i realize there will be ignorant bigots that can't deal with this but although they will be more vocal they will be in the minority.
    psychologists say that straight men that have an exaggerated dislike of gay men have a  underlying  curiosity they are trying to coverup and can't deal with, ergo they can't handle it like a man as michael sam is doing.
    i hope he gets drafted by a team that will welcome him as a player and help insulate him from the eventual attacks the intolerant among us will throw at him and the team he plays for.
    kudos to you michael you have taken the first step and will be thought of as a pioneer in the advancement of rights that have been denied for much too long.

  •  Let's see if he gets drafted. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    Prior to coming out, he was projected as anywhere between a 3rd and 7th round pick because he's a bit on the small side for an NFL defensive lineman and because nearly all of his sacks came against sad sack teams. Teams will have an easy out for passing him up.

    Still, for all the talk about teams not wanting the distraction, there are probably a few losing teams that might actually benefit from a little extra attention, so you never know.

    And -- his orientation was a kind of open secret already known to most NFL personnel types.

    Props to Sam for coming out publicly BEFORE the draft.  It will cost him money.  It will reduce the chance that he ever plays a down in the NFL, but...

    it's a courageous example and worst cases usually don't actually happen.  I think NFL players will surprise the supposedly smarter and more refined types who own the teams.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:08:22 AM PST

    •  I think it's a two edged sword (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      Certainly there will be teams that will not draft him because of this, there may also be teams that WILL draft him because of this (and the positive publicity). I think it's probably a wash.

    •  I suspect that it was known among... (4+ / 0-)

      the scouts. After all, Sam had come out to his team mates and more recently discovered that for more folks knew than he expected. He apparently has dated another athlete. He says he came out to be more in control of the info. That's smart and I applaud him for it. He sounds like a fine young man and role model.

      Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

      by Ian S on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:35:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree... It makes a lot of sense to come out... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ian S, Cassandra Waites

        Apparently, there are some wondering why he makes his sexuality an issue.  The answer is he is not.  His teammates know and apparently more people than he expected.  So, eventually it would be fully public, so make an announcement, so he is in control.  In a sense, coming out might make it less of an issue.  A few weeks of attention and then the sports media moves on to something else (like Spring Training!!!!).  Probably gets mentioned on draft day and then the media will find another squirrel.

        •  Better to do it now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites

          than to have him tailed by gossip sites like TMZ all season. The moment he went into a gay bar in NY or SF while on his bye week it would be all over the Internets anyway.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:23:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jerry Smith. (5+ / 0-)

    All Pro TE Jerry Smith of the Redskins had a long and distinguished career (1965-1977), setting several NFL records that stood for years. He never came out, but his teammates knew. He died of AIDS in 1986.

    I believe the NFL is ready. It helps that Sam is a beast on the field--All American, defensive player of the year, etc.--and an extroverted locker room leader who is well liked by his teammates. His play will be all anyone cares about.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:09:56 AM PST

  •  I really hope (0+ / 0-)

    His draft stock doesn't get affected by this.

    What happened to Kerry Rhodes (pro bowl caliber 2012 and didn't get on any team last year despite being 30 years old) has me feeling skeptical though.

  •  please get that comma out of the ttile (0+ / 0-)

    i know it's a direct quote, but they got it wrong.  highly distracting from an otherwise awesome story.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:43:17 AM PST

  •  Either some team will realize their opportunity (0+ / 0-)

    and talk to their current core franchise players, and then jump on to the opportunity to draft him, or I'd say the NFL is in danger of an anti-trust suit for collusion and black-balling him.
    Maybe not, but they should be.
    Also, they should pay their damn taxes.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:43:40 AM PST

  •  The NFL should not be given a pass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Front Toward Enemy

    so It can alone can continue to remain the only workplace in America that's allowed to tolerate bigots and Neanderthals.

    In reality I don't think it's going to be nearly as big a deal as the 'experts' think it will be.

    A majority of people in America support gays and gay marriage. Some of them are football players and allot of them happen to be football fans.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:47:37 AM PST

  •  always figured this would be how it would go (3+ / 0-)

    I was always sure this would be how it would go -- an out-and-proud high schooler or college student gets good enough at football to be targeting the NFL and refuses to go back into the closet.  

    Good on him for being the one to do it, and I hope it doesn't hurt his draft position.  

  •  Currently in Las Vegas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S, zooecium

    the over/under on Michael Sam's draft position is 125.5, which would put him at the bottom of the fourth round.

    You really can bet on anything.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:22:31 AM PST

    •  It's Vegas baby! (0+ / 0-)

      Along with the over under I -bet- you can also find a 'Not drafted' line. It's Vegas if someone wants to make a bet, there is someone that will be willing to make a line.

      You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

      by zooecium on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:38:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  one media source reports that 10 NFL execs (0+ / 0-)

    think it's a no go and that "maybe in ten years...."

    Since there have been women punters and kickers in Division One, let's see if that barrier gets crossed in the NFL

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:42:11 AM PST

  •  ANONYMOUS QUOTES? (0+ / 0-)

    All those 'anonymous' GMs and other NFL officials are the ones who are afraid to come out, as bigots!  This young man isn't a Heisman candidate, but he can be a worthy backup or special teamer in his first year or so.  And I'll bet the only players to have a problem with him are the ones whose jobs are threatened!

    •  Heisman is for college, (0+ / 0-)

      not the pros -- but I agree that he might spend some time as a backup or on special teams for a couple of years, then work into the starting lineup as players get old or injured.

      I won't deny that there will be some initial discomfort amongst teammates (as there was when sports teams became integrated), but as a gay friend once said, "If you're a dude and think gay guys are in the showers staring at your junk, you're flattering yourself." Any player who wants a future in football knows that it's not a meat market -- it's a workplace, and you're not going to damage your employment with anything that might be inappropriate behavior.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:30:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If he were a linebacker, I'd want him on Bears (0+ / 0-)

    But I think we have bigger needs than a DE. Pity, though. All the teams will eventually have gay players and being first is worth something.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:52:55 AM PST

  •  the biggest difference is, he's honest. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites

    The real truth is that locker rooms are probably full of gay men.  They just cover it up.  The jocks at my high school were a bunch of homophobes... who all had nicknames for each other based on their penises.  That always seemed like a repressed dichotomy to me.

    This guy's just not bullshitting about things.  And I doubt he'll have as much trouble in the locker room as a lot of the critics think he will.  His teammates will be more interested in what he does on the field, not a part of his life that has nothing to do with them.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:58:01 AM PST

  •  Whatever Team Drafts Him (6+ / 0-)

    Is going to sell a hell of a lot of jerseys.

  •  Its going to be so funny (0+ / 0-)

    when this is not a big deal at all and people will look back at the fuss made by idiots and laugh.

    The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.

    by gbaked on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:29:05 AM PST

  •  Some of you are setting up no-win conditions... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for the NFL.

    Sam is currently projected to be a mid- to late-level draft pick - that is, it's considered likely that he'll be selected in round 4 or 5.

    When you get down to that level of the draft, selections boil down to one question - can this guy fill a need for us?

    Yes, teams will take chances on "risky" picks in the late rounds, but it all depends on where there needs lie.  If a team is well stocked with linebackers (Sam's position), they won't spend a draft pick on another linebacker; they'll go fill some other gap in the roster.

    As someone mentioned in an earlier comment, Vegas currently puts him around pick #125.  At that point, it's all a question of whether he can fill a hole in the roster - and an undersized linebacker has a tough row to hoe in that regard.

    Because of this, I don't think it fair to suggest that "THE NFL IS JUST HOMOPHOBIC" if Sam isn't drafted, or if he falls further in the draft order.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:38:53 AM PST

    •  Put him on special teams (0+ / 0-)

      and get him with a good strength/conditioning coach, and he could be a good journeyman player in the league, especially in the salary cap era where you're looking to save money at certain positions.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:34:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree... (0+ / 0-)

        ...I merely suggest that every team has its own calculus for such things, and that folks who insist that "he SHOULD be drafted, and if he isn't it's because of bigotry" are setting expectations a wee bit on the high side....

        It's all about "roster fit".  Here's an interesting, albeit somewhat dated, look at roster turnover in the NFL between 2009 and 2010.

        As you can see, turnover on the 53-man roster ranged from 10 players (Atlanta) to 30 (Seattle).  So, teams ranged from approximately 20% turnover to just under 60% turnover in single year.  Here's the kicker, though - that turnover includes not only the new players from the draft but also injured reserve, retirements, trades, etc.

        This is another reason that it all comes to a given player's "fit" with a given team when it's "their turn" in the draft.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:49:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That won't make him taller (0+ / 0-)

        At 6'2" he's too short to be a defensive end. His NFL position would be at linebacker. That is unless he wants to gain 50 to 70 pounds and become an interior lineman. It sounds like he may have the speed and pass rush skill to be an outside backer in a 3-4. We'll see I guess.

  •  Let's beat this dead horse (0+ / 0-)

    Say he isn't drafted. As a walk on tryout, if he suffers discrimination could it effect NFL tax exempt status?

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:00:49 AM PST

  •  Wih Mr Sam the best, wish him courage in the face (0+ / 0-)

    Of certain abuse that will follow from fans, players coaches and for sure televangelist and GOPers

  •  Glad its a black lineman (0+ / 0-)

    This isn't some white guy standing at the back of the field playing free safety or kicker.  This is a large black man playing at one of the most physical positions on the field.  Straight into the heart of the most masculine, aggressive unit on the team.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:18:58 AM PST

  •  Patriots (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antimony

    No way Belicheck passes him over if he comes up as a value on the draft card. Belicheck always looks for value and scoops it up when, where and for what ever reason he finds it. Especially defense. Sometimes it doesn't work out but he does have a pretty good record for getting it right.

    You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

    by zooecium on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:51:05 AM PST

  •  If drafted and ultimately signed by the right team (0+ / 0-)

    ... his presence on the team could sell one heck of a lot of tickets (I'm thinking SF, Seattle, SD, New England, either NY team, Washington, Chicago).  And I agree with a prior post--his jersey will sell like hotcakes.

    Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.

    by george in san diego on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:02:58 PM PST

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