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Michael Sam, defensive lineman for Missouri, comes out on ESPN's OTL
Watch Michael Sam's ESPN interview here
As recently as mid-January, CBS Sports projected that Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year from Missouri who came out as gay last night, was a second or third round pick most likely to go 72nd overall in April's NFL draft.

After Sam came out, however, CBS adjusted their projection, initially saying Sam was most likely to go 160th overall before bumping him back up to 110th and saying he's most likely to go in the third, fourth, or fifth rounds. Time will tell if their draft projection holds up, but what's really amazing is how they try to explain it, claiming that the issue isn't that Sam is openly gay, but instead that by telling the world about his sexual orientation he has become a distraction:

Any club drafting Sam would add distractions for players, and teams normally work to avoid any distraction.

As the media glare intensifies at the Scouting Combine and the weeks leading up to the draft, Sam will be viewed as more and more of a distraction. That fact -- not Sam's homosexuality -- is what will cause him to slip into the late rounds or perhaps even entirely out of the draft.

To recap: Three weeks ago, CBS projected Sam as a second or third rounder, and now they say he might not even get drafted, but they also say if their projection comes true, it has absolutely nothing to do with his sexual orientation, it's just because he's a distraction.

That's pretty much the purest form of bull right there. Maybe Sam will drop in the draft; I'm sure he anticipated that possibility before coming out. But if he does, it has everything to do with his sexual orientation and it says more about the people doing the drafting than it does about Sam himself.

I mean, take a look at this amazing attempt at rationalization from CBS:

The problem is that while Sam is a good prospect, he's not a great one. While starring as a defensive end for the Tigers, Sam was asked to play linebacker at the Senior Bowl and he struggled with the position change, showing limited flexibility and fluidity. This fact could limit him to the defensive end position in the traditional 4-3 alignment, further complicating his stock.
No, the problem is homophobia. Three weeks ago, Sam was a second or third rounder; today, they are saying he might not get drafted. The football calculus did not change in those three weeks. What changed is how some people in and around the NFL view Sam. If a team passes on Sam for a football reason, that's the way the draft is supposed to work. But if they pass on Sam because he came out, that's the definition of homophobia, no matter how many "experts" try to blame Sam for being a "distraction."

It's also a pretty good definition of being a loser, because if you choose an inferior player simply because the better player was "a distraction," the message you're sending to your fans is that you'd rather be homophobic and lose than support equality and win.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unfortunately, he's not a Jackie Robinson type of (9+ / 0-)

    athlete. He was expected to go in the 4th or 5th round (somewhat undersized for defensive line, a bit slow for linebacker). He could go lower, but one shouldn't assume it's from more than a talent evaluation. Mind, going in the 4th round still means you're a very good athlete with a chance to make the team, but he's not a lock.

    •  He's much more of one than Jason Collins... (12+ / 0-)

      I suspect that whichever team gives Sam a shot will give him a fair one. As much of a cynic as I am, I can't believe that all 32 teams would use Sam's orientation as an excuse to not draft him. He did have 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss on the #5 team in the nation.

      Seattle showed what a good defense can do. He might fall in the draft but some team is going to make a risk/reward decision by the 4th round if he's still available.

      No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

      by Magster on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:46:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  in a later round he's big value. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sturunner

        If you ever watch Moneyball, the lesson of that was
        "There are under-rated players, the key is finding the
        metrics to measure and then determining real value
        and then putting together the best value within the budget".

        My dad used to hire the "Undesirable" in the late 60's and
        70's. The fat, the Bald, the unattractive, women, blacks,
        asians.  He didn't care, they worked hard, they worked cheap
        and he was a slave driver and a cheapskate.

        However, he offered them flex time, child care and
        complete freedom to define their jobs.

        He made a ton of money and a number of them did okay.

        I don't know much about NFL drafts, but, the later the round the lower the contract, i'd wait see if you can get him at a value point where he exceeds other players.  Then if he starts handling the field well, use him for PR too.

    •  He was a pretty darn good pass rusher... (16+ / 0-)

      ...in the toughest (physically and talent-wise) conference in the country...AND he led said conference in tackles for a loss. That HAS to mean something when you're moving from college into the NFL.

      I can think of many, many teams who could use a player with his size and skill. Remember, Robert Mathis (Colts All-Pro) was a 5th round pick. This cat could easily become a premier player with work and dedication.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:47:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Super Bowl 48 champion Seahawks (13+ / 0-)

      are made up of middle to low round draft choices and probably as many undrafted players as ever found on a SB team. Result: One of the best defenses ever and one that other teams are sure emulate. Sam is the kind of person that would fit right into those plans for any number of teams. He plays awesome D.

      By the way, CBS and most of th talking heads favored the Broncos over the Seahawks. I suspect they're wrong about Sam, too. At least I hope so.

      Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

      by RudiB on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:48:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He'll go based on his ability (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      patbahn, sturunner

      Likely very close to where he would have gone had he not publicly come out.  At this point there's really no accurate prediction of where anyone but maybe a handful of players will go and things will change constantly between now and the draft in May.  
      Every year a player or 2 who were certain to go in the top 10 are hanging around far longer because draft guruism is about as scientific as creationism.  Players will be ranked by each team based on their perceived value to that team's needs and if his skills are at the top of the board when it comes time to select a player that's when he'll be drafted, I find it hard to believe that Mike Sam will be treated any differently.

    •  The idea is that he was suddenly dropped (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, sturunner

      by CBS Sports to a lower pick by this obviously-spun bullshit.

      What blatant, sick, twisted, "let's drop a Divide 'Em Up into this Morning's Headlines" to keep everyone arguing. Sometimes, that shit is just tedious. Yes, News Powers That Be, the American Public CAN Multi-Task and we will continue to do so. We aren't going to stop paying attention to stuff like this. Or this. Or this, just because your homophobia is showing again.

      Fuck CBS Sports.
       

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:09:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The CBS Sports Radio talk hosts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, sturunner

        I've heard have universally been very supportive of Sam; one pair did a great job at putting the assorted homophobe callers in their place.

        As for draft status, I'd say nothing can really be known till after the combine end of the month. He had a pretty weak Senior Bowl appearance (but that could have been coaching as much as individual performance); if he shows promise at the combine and especially some speed on the pass rush, he could still go as originally projected, mid to low 3rd round.

        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 12:20:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's great that a couple of them did that (0+ / 0-)
          one pair did a great job at putting the assorted homophobe callers in their place.
          But that in no way means this "sudden fall in the draft" Subject wasn't engineered to divide. I will never believe that it wasn't. Not now and not ever.

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:18:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not sure what you mean by "engineered 2 divide" (0+ / 0-)

            Are you upset they are reporting his stock might drop when the reality is it won't?  I think that's what I'm reading but I'm not sure.

            Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

            by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:05:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  given a choice between Richard Sherman & Sam (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RudiB, wader, sturunner

    which one is the real distraction

    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 11:33:46 AM PST

    •  Peyton Manning is a distraction (6+ / 0-)

      He's good enough that just about every pundit fails to see that he is carrying a mediocre team on his back. How's that for distraction?

      Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

      by RudiB on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:56:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Painful - from my home in Denver. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sturunner, RudiB

        Still, they were good enough to beat everyone on the AFC side.  Now they just need to beat a very good defense (and to be ready to play).

        •  I think the AFC will have to become (0+ / 0-)

          more defense minded -- and soon. Manning's Broncos are a little like Elway's were (no surprise there, I guess). A supremely gifted (and expensive) QB is likely to necessitate team weaknesses elsewhere that may not show up until the playoffs or the Super Bowl.

          The Seahawks are a good bet to repeat, but after another year when we have to pay Wilson $15-20, I dunno. $20 million will buy 2-3 all-pro backs or linemen.

          Maybe this could be a parable of what the plutocracy and the 99% do to an economy.

          Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

          by RudiB on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:00:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Refresh my memory... (12+ / 0-)

    how does NFL rationalize claiming "non-profit"?

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:36:52 AM PST

    •  By being hypocritical. They also passed a rule (5+ / 0-)

      banning any other franchise from doing a Green Bay ownership system.
      (Wikipedia:

      Green Bay Packers Foundation

      The team created the Green Bay Packers Foundation in December 1986. The foundation assists in a wide variety of activities and programs that benefit education, civic affairs, health services, human services and youth-related programs.

      At the team's 1999 annual stockholders meeting, it was voted to make the foundation the recipient of any remaining assets if the team were to be sold or dissolved. In 1923, the Packers were incorporated in Wisconsin as a nonprofit corporation, with stipulations that if the Packers were sold, all assets would be transferred to the Sullivan-Wallen Post of the American Legion in order to build a "proper soldiers memorial." No shareholder can own more than 200 shares in the company. This has put the Packers in a unique situation, as it would be impossible to move the team from Wisconsin. In turn, the franchise has remained in the tiny market of Green Bay.

    •  The teams are for-profit entities (11+ / 0-)

      The league office is classified as a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association.  Things like TV and ticket revenue get taxed when they go to the teams.

  •  Media (21+ / 0-)

    The media is the one responsible for any drop Sam has in the draft.

    It is the media that is the root of the "distraction" more than the homophobia, because they are going to be unrelenting in their coverage of the issue, as well as the peppering of teammates and such about their feelings about it.

    Teams aren't looking to invite that type of headache into their locker room unless they are so good that the play on the field outweighs the baggage your presence brings.

    It's not Sam's fault that the media can't control themselves, but to pretend that his presence isn't going to be a legit distraction is disingenuous.

    Acknowledging that is not homophobia, but the reality of the 24/7 ESPN/TMZ media world we live in.

    They are the ones that will hurt this kid more than any inherent homophobia in the NFL.

    •  Well Stated... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65

      And "distraction" has long been cited by NFL teams as reasons not to gamble on an unproven player. Case in point...

      http://www.sbnation.com/...

      http://www.sportingnews.com/...

    •  by announcing now (12+ / 0-)

      he could be taking the sting out possible distraction at the time of signing. It will be old news by then, it will flare for the signing moment but after that it will be all what happens on the field.

      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 11:53:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually I'd put more responsibility at the feet (13+ / 0-)

      of team ownership and league administration.  The situation in the NFL is not unlike what happened in the military: soldiers were overwhelmingly "who cares?" about ending DADT, but the older, upper administration suffered collective freak-outs every time it was brought up.

      Players, on the whole, seem much more willing to have an open player than their ownership.  This execs will talk good game about equality, but just look at what they're willing to say when kept anonymous.   This, more than media scrutiny, is what's creating the problem.

      Sidenote: what keeps getting lost in this discussion about "distractions" is that Sam's entire team knew he was gay, and it was so much of a distraction that he was voted co-Defense Player of the Year in the toughest college division.  The players don't have a problem with it - and the occasional player who does is going to keep his distance.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:58:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, some of those teams (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, sturunner

        might be spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) in the hopes that Sam will drop to them at a lower draft round (and thus cheaper to sign). A quality organization will be keeping their mouths shut and simply evaluating him based on his talent, watching him closely at the NFL combine later this month.

        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 12:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Players were so distracted by his orientation, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pico, Cassandra Waites, sturunner

        that he was able to knock them on their butts. Wide receivers start to run their routes. QB drops into the pocket.

        Sam yells out: "Hey! I'm gay!"

        Offense gets distracted: "Whaaaa? You're what? Oh gawd! That's not-- "

        BAM!

        Distracting defensive players ain't such a bad thing.

        I can't believe I had to explain it to you...

        ;)

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:23:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No it's the media on this story. NFL is very medi (0+ / 0-)

        Media savvy and would love to be the first major pro league to have a gay athlete.  The draft isn't for months.  All this is based on speculation created by media types who need to create content for print, radio, tv and the internet.

        Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

        by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:13:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The media don't sign draftees. (0+ / 0-)

          They have no say in the decision whatsoever.  If team/league administration base their decisions on perceived media scrutiny, that's on them, not on media: the job of media is to report.  If teams/league find that inconvenient... too bad.  

          The whole idea that we're taking anonymous commentary from admin, as if they were discussing state secrets, is frankly ridiculous, and shows just how bad sports reporting can be.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:50:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That being said: (0+ / 0-)

          some of the reporting has been abysmal... I'll give you that.  USA Today actually has a headline "How will he handle locker room jokes?", as if this is a story.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 12:55:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  But homophobia is the root of this "distraction." (4+ / 0-)

      If there were no homophobia, Michael Sam would be just another pretty good college football player with above average chances of being drafted into the NFL.  Because if there were no homophobia, Sam's sexual orientation would be of no interest to anyone, just as the sexual orientation of heterosexual players is of no interest to anyone.

      So separating the "distraction" from the homophobia is impossible.  The only reason anyone is distracted is because of homophobia.  That the homophobia afflicts the media as well as the NFL shouldn't be news to anyone.

      And I'd just point out that a team's reluctance to "invite that type of headache into their locker room" could be used to justify exclusion of players for all sorts of discriminatory reasons.  

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:46:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it homophobic to report on homophobia? (0+ / 0-)

        That's basically what you're arguing here. It's a news story because if he makes it into the NFL,  he'll be the first gay player drafted into that league.  

        Seems like you're overreacting to speculation that his stock might drop.  Keep in mind that all the media does re the NFL during the off season is speculate.  Who will get traded. Who will get drafted? Who will improve? Who won't.  

        Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

        by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:21:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You've confused me with someone else. (0+ / 0-)

          Because that's not at all what I'm arguing.  I'm taking issue with the idea that a team's not wanting to  "invite that type of headache into their locker room" is based on something other than homophobia.  

          Sports teams deal with all manner of "headaches" on a daily basis where their players are concerned.  I see no reason why this so-called "headache" (a term that implies Sam's sexual orientation is some kind of problem to the dealt with) should be any more difficult than any other.

          "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

          by FogCityJohn on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 01:35:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  He's a distraction. . . (13+ / 0-)

    because he's gay.

    And the South was just fighting for States' Rights. . .

    . . .to own slaves.

  •  . (6+ / 0-)

    I can't wait until someone's race, religion, creed, and sexuality doesn't matter.  Merit & talent would be the standard.  

  •  I'm thinking a smart team would grab him asap . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, mmacdDE

    They would be the team that picks up an audience that would follow that player , iykwim .
    I think they could do very well indeed .

    What happened when a baseball team picked up
    Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson ?
    How did that work out ?

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:41:05 AM PST

    •  I'm thinking that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, nota bene, cks175

      the Vikings pretty much have to draft him.

      •  Would they then give Kluwe his punter's job back? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, Mannie, nota bene, schnecke21

        I wouldn't have given this guy a thought unless he got drafted by one of the teams I root for.  Now I'm trying to decide which team should send the message by drafting him.  I don't think the Browns should do it, just because they're already pretty far down the ranks.  I think it would be good for some team other than San Francisco to do it, because with San Francisco it would just enforce every stereotype of the city.  Maybe one of the "manly" type teams like Pittsburgh or Baltimore.  In Baltimore, he could even have a marriage if he found the right fellow.

        Really, though, I hope he does well as a player and this becomes a byeline in his autobiography after a long and productive career for whatever team(s) he plays for.

    •  They won the World Series, but (0+ / 0-)

      8 years later, as he was declining. (He retired one year later.) Probably not a good enough claim to make, no matter how well-intentioned . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:38:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But this kid, athletically, is no Jackie Robinson. (0+ / 0-)

      He's a mid level talent.  Robinson was already a great player when he signed with the Dodgers.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:27:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Distractions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, varro, ssgbryan, Chitown Kev

    Trying to think of all the players labeled as distractions before the draft, like Randy Moss. Seems like a Moneyball-type team will come into a great player on the cheap.

    •  NFL considers an athlete's interest in pursuing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      a graduate degree a distraction.   The media circus that will surround Sam's draft will be a distraction for some teams.

      Diarist refered to one sports blog that had him pegged as a second or third rounder, but now dropping from third to fifth.  Keep in mind there is almost an industry based soley on projecting drafts, multiple websites devoted just to where players will go on draft day, but it's all really just speculation.

      He's a top collegiate player, but he does have some drawbacks at the NFL level.  A natural Defensive End in college, he's a bit small for that position at the pro level.  And as the diarist noted, when they moved him to linebacker for the college all star game, he did not show any brilliant play or ability that "locked" him in as a top linebacker draft candidate.

      Tuned in to some sports radio earlier today, and the hosts' analysis was that as a football player, Sam is a likely 3rd or 4th rounder.  

      It's great news that a collegiate player feels safe enough to come out prior to the draft.  The best thing his fans can do for him now is not feed all the media hype that is surrounding his announcement.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:12:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He'd be a good special teams player (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim

        starting out, moving into the defensive ranks once he's had some work at LB and a good strength/conditioning program to build upper body strength while not losing any speed. Maybe start out as an extra LB on nickel or dime coverage in an obvious passing situation for the opposition (say, 3rd and 5 when they don't have a power RB available).

        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 12:31:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  good article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      Good article on this angle.  Essentially any media circus/distraction will die down within a couple of news cycles.

  •  Interesting (18+ / 0-)
    Any club drafting Sam would add distractions for players, and teams normally work to avoid any distraction.
    Because all these guys are not distractions.

    UT San Diego's arrests of NFL players database.

    There's 685 non-distractions.  Those are the arrests -- not the ones that got away with whatever.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:41:55 AM PST

  •  Their rationalization about his "showing limited (12+ / 0-)

    flexibility and fluidity" in his ability to transition from D end to linebacker is especially bullshit.  The guy plays the entire season at one position, and then is suddenly asked to play another position for the Senior Bowl, and they act like he's expected to excel at the same level?  Hell, why not ask him to play safety.  Or corner.  The NFL may expect him to be able to transition to another position over the short/long term, but they absolutely would not expect him to switch positions on Monday and kick ass at it on Saturday.  Total load of BS.

    •  Yes and ignores his other contributions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, ColoTim, Cassandra Waites

      It's not just how Sam plays the position he's played in college, but his ability to be a play maker and leader on the team, which is far less measurable, but just as important. The thing is, Sam is from a very poor background and knows all too well how lucky his is to have the talent to play in the NFL. Whatever team gets him will get a proven, mature leader who is willing to work as hard as necessary and make the contribution necessary to make the team successful. That is the definition of the kind of player any team should want to draft.

      A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

      by CPT Doom on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:52:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Richard Sherman was a wide receiver at Stanford (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, Chitown Kev

      He's made a pretty good adjustment to defensive back for the Seahawks. Sam can adjust just fine. Claims to the contrary are BS.

      Did you ver notice how har it is totype accurately on an iPad?

      by RudiB on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:09:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The bigots saved him from brain damage? (0+ / 0-)

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

    by merrywidow on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:46:10 AM PST

  •  If he doesn't get drafted (5+ / 0-)

    it means the teams that were looking at him are indeed distracted, but not because of Sam. It's because of who they are, and what they are distracted from is building the strongest team.

    Their problem. But I think some team will recognize courage for what it is, and grab him.

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:46:54 AM PST

  •  It's a distraction to the homophobes in the locker (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RudiB, Mannie, mconvente, Cassandra Waites

    room.  Football is a violent game, a street fight with rules played by guys who love the violence and the small unit cohesion that allows the male bonding that they are afraid to engage in otherwise.  Even a hint of "gayness" can kill a guy in the locker room, because football players are generally not as "evolved" as, say, chess players.  

    In a perfect world, you would draft solid citizens that give you the best chance to win.   The world is not perfect yet.  Sam will get drafted, but he won't make the money he would have made as a higher draft pick.   The benefit to coming out, though, is that if he does get drafted, it will be by a team that knows what he is about before they draft him and is willing to take a chance that their locker room is willing to evolve a little.   Good luck to Sam.  He's a brave man.

    “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:47:19 AM PST

  •  I am shocked this is an issue, didn't know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, gsenski

    there was a big deal in football with this....all the gay men I know call football a homo-erotic pageant now

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

    by merrywidow on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:47:42 AM PST

    •  Bob Nelson had a stand up routine on this years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zooecium, gsenski, Cassandra Waites

      ago.  I wish I could remember the joke, but the punch line involved tight ends, wide receivers and better uniforms.  

      “Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

      by SpamNunn on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:51:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Years ago someone did a cut and paste (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zooecium

        of play-by-play and color commentary from John Madden and Pat Summerall of all the inadvertently homoerotic things they've said calling a game on TV, things that if said outside the context of football would be almost pornographic. It was freaking hilarious.

        "Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job." --Coretta Scott King

        by craigkg on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:54:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  BS 'distraction'... (8+ / 0-)

    The NFL thrives on controversy.
    As long as the distraction isn't in the locker room it won't be an issue and players known to their teammates to be gay have been in the league for years and if it hurt the way the team played I never heard about it.

    Think the CBS spokesperson is projecting their own bias. I would go with the bookies in Vegas (o/u 125.5) before I looked to a media twit.

    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 11:48:50 AM PST

    •  Players vs teams (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zooecium, ColoTim, Cassandra Waites

      I agree, the players are all pretty young and mostly up-to-date on the world they live in. Can't say all, but apart from a few assholes they won't be the issue.

      I think CBS is reporting that personnel folks will worry that there might be an issue and pass on him. I'm not sure how much of that CBS believes itself, but there are multiple reports out there showing this fear/bias in GMs. So what I take from this story is CBS reporting on the bias, rather than advocating it. And it's a fact.

      Sam sounds like a hit-or-miss guy, who could thrive at  certain roles (edge rush in sub packages) but not necessarily all three downs. Some teams will like his skills, others won't. Of the teams who like them, how many are run by GMs who can handle his story? Less than 100%. So he drops in the draft a bit.

      My guess is the team that drafts him winds up being one who have a pretty good handle on their locker room culture, and the issue quiets down quickly. Sam was smart to say something far enough ahead of time for people to think about this and get over it before he wound up on the wrong team.

      "Milton Friedman's misfortune is that his policies have been tried."

      by el fuego on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:56:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Patriots (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cali Scribe, ColoTim, cks175

        Belicheck will take him the moment his value as an athlete shows up on his draft card as being greater than  any of the players he might have been considering in that spot. You never hear anything coming out of the Patriot locker room or from the coaches about anything. Period./Exclamation-point!

        Yes there is bias. As you say - fact. That unbiased GMs might attempt to take advantage of another teams perceived slanted view -not a doubt in my mind. But those things are a part of every player evaluation for every possible off the field tendency. Where I see the BS is in the precipitous drop followed by strong recovery in his possible draft number. I believe the drop was a projection of their own bias and the recovery was from figuring it out that it had already been factored in.  

        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 12:22:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent point. Really can't have a serious (0+ / 0-)

          discussion of where Sam will go in the draft until he goes through the interviews and athletic evaluations at the draft combine.

          Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

          by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:26:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  the scouting report (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike RinRI, RudiB, mconvente, ColoTim, cks175

    FWIW espn.com's scouting report was pretty similar and they tabbed him as possibly going undrafted ... that said, it's early in the draft process so things can change. Besides, plenty of undrafted players go on to fine NFL careers.

    BTW, when sports writers talk about 'distractions' they are essentially farting on their keyboards. It's not even (necessarily) homophobia - it's stupidity and laziness - they do it all the time.

  •  Maybe the Miami Dolphins can draft him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    As a PR move to counter-act the Richie Incognito situation.

    •  If only he played offense :) (0+ / 0-)

      Their defense if pretty rock. It's their offense that stinks up the joint.

      Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

      by Love Me Slender on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:52:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Miami would be the last team to draft him. (0+ / 0-)

      It would be an insult to Sam to be drafted not because of his athletic ability, but because he's a gay man.  If a team in Miami's situation drafted him, there would always be an undercurrent of speculation that he was drafted because he was gay (for PR reasons), not because he was the best fit for Miami's player personnel needs.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:29:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see it (0+ / 0-)

    I don’t think it’ll raise his stock, but that first team that needs a DE in his range might have their hands tied now.

  •  His orientation is only a distraction if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zooecium, mconvente, Glenn45

    his team and coaches make it one. There is nothing inherently "distracting" about him coming out, unless you're a homophobe who is unnecessarily obsessed with something as insignificant to Sam's character and abilities as his sexuality.

  •  What with the CTE stuff and all, in the (0+ / 0-)

    end not being drafted might be something his brain will thank him for.

  •  If it were baseball... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RudiB, Cali Scribe

    The baseball draft is a little different, but if a 3rd round talent dropped to the 5th round that player would be wearing an A's uniform in a heartbeat.

    Presuming he is a 3rd round talent. Some team that was not looking at defense in the earlier rounds will scoop him up in a later round.

  •  He, "Play linebacker at the Senior Bowl and he (0+ / 0-)

    struggled." Huh???
    Who the #+@% goes all_out in these types of games?
    O.K. Kobe and M.J. but who else?

    •  Senior Bowl is a game where players do go all out. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, ColoTim, Cassandra Waites

      It's known as a showcase for collegians hoping to get drafted to raise their draft stock.  Many players before him have not played to expectations in that game, and suffered in the draft.  While others have exceled and risen their stock.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:14:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Keep in mind that the Senior Bowl... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Cassandra Waites

      ...is usually the last opportunity for a collegiate player to showcase themselves before the NFL Combine.  Now, if a player has a good reputation and a solid resume, they'll probably skip the Senior Bowl entirely.  Take a look at this year's Senior Bowl rosters; you'll see DOZENS of players whose teams weren't showcased in big-time bowl games, and you won't see that many players who are already considered "high draft picks."

      So, yeah, many players go all-out to prove themselves at the Senior Bowl.

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

      by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:33:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Same as it ever was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RudiB, Glenn45

    Once again MSM totally misses the point. Any team that disregard him is homophobic, not distractophobic

    “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 11:58:18 AM PST

  •  Whoever drafts him is going to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical

    grow their fan base.

    "Labor was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things" -- Adam Smith

    by HugoDog on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:58:29 AM PST

    •  Not neccesarily true. If they draft him because (0+ / 0-)

      of his potential to improve the team, it will help.  If it's seen as a PR move, and they pass on a better player in order to sign him, then it will backfire.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:32:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a fork in the road for the NFL (5+ / 0-)

    Either they go down the road of bigots and hate mongers, or they take the high road.

    There is no middle road in this one.

    Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

    by Walt starr on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 11:59:14 AM PST

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    He's brave as hell and together enough to act on that courage while still a young man.  Maybe he'll fall so low in the draft he saves his brain and does something else, of equal or greater awesomeness.  Like teach.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:00:41 PM PST

  •  Not quite sure how being asked to play a brand (5+ / 0-)

    new position for an exhibition game with who knows how few practices is any indicator of whether he could adapt to a new position in the NFL, with a full preseason to get accustomed to it.

    The unfortunate fact is that not very many of those drafted end up making a team (about 35%), let alone starting in their first year. It would be no surprise then if Sam were drafted but then cut, perhaps to play on a practice squad or try another type of football.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:00:50 PM PST

  •  Homophobia is bad (6+ / 0-)

    That said, there is a deeper calculus here. Part of what drove teams away from Tim Tebow was the circus-like atmosphere that came with him. Similarly Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. They are/were a distraction. When all the craziness went down on the Dolphins this year with Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, it was a distraction.

    For better or worse Michael Sam will draw a lot of attention to the team that drafts him solely because he is gay. (You can see it already happening.) Of course, Jackie Robinson drew an awful lot of media attention to the Brooklyn and so did Larry Doby to the Cleveland. Manon Rhéaume drew a lot of attention to Tampa Bay. Hell, last year Manti Te'o brought some.

    If the team doesn't have a strong head coach or good media team, that attention can cause major issues. Some teams don't like to be on Hard Knocks because it causes a distraction. (It's so bad the NFL is creating a way to require teams to do it if no one volunteers.)

    No one, including Michael Sam, will be in a good position if it becomes a circus. Jackie Robinson had Pee Wee Reese and Branch Rickey among others. Sam will need the same.

    The world will be a better place when an openly gay football player will not be a distraction, but don't kid yourself. When the draft is over and reporters are looking for something to write about it will be Michael Sam and the team that drafted him or didn't. When training camps aren't providing good storylines, it will be Michael Sam. His teammates and his coaches are going to be asked about it again and again. It will be a distraction.... until kickoff.

    Take it easy, but take it.

    by ltsply2 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:01:04 PM PST

    •  I Don't Agree With This (12+ / 0-)
      Part of what drove teams away from Tim Tebow was the circus-like atmosphere that came with him.
      The only thing that ATTRACTED teams to Tim Tebow was the circus-like atmosphere that came with him.  What drove them away was that he sucks at football.
      •  I almost got whiplash at how quickly he fell ... (5+ / 0-)

        Now that he's a Super Bowl ad punchline, how much longer before he's selling reverse mortgages or marrying a Kardashian?

        •  I don't expect him to ever be that low. He has (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrississippi

          plenty of money, has various causes like the hospital in the Philippines and his various Christian charities.  He's going to continue making money as a speaker on the circuit and I think he may even consider trying to coach since I think even he feels his football player career is over.

          I think he's one of the genuine help-others Christians, not one of the get-all-you-can-grab pharisees.

          •  Tebow's also going to be a sports commentator (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            on ESPN and on its new SEC Network.

            •  I could see him doing well with that. He's an (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Chitown Kev

              accomplished speaker, knows the game very well, is telegenic and has a loyal following.  All I can say is I bought a Tebow jersey for my wife and she sat there calling for his return while I sat there in my Manning jersey for the last couple of years.  I had thought now that Manning has won more post-season games than Tebow did as a Bronco that she might quiet down but that Superbowl brought back her cry for Tebow to come back because with him the Broncos always had a chance (except vs. the Patriots).

      •  This is absolutely the case. (4+ / 0-)

        I mean, Tebow came in looking like a good prospect, but he floundered in the pros.  The only think that kept him in the conversation was ESPN's relentless stumping for him, even while his numbers plummeted.  Deadspin laid this out in long, painful detail.

        Speaking of Deadspin: Drew Magary wrote my favorite piece on the Michael Sam story so far.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:36:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't even think he came in as a good prospect (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nota bene, pico, Chitown Kev

          If he had been willing to work and convert to another position, maybe. But his throwing mechanics were so awful and there's still no read-option type of offense really being used in pro football. You can't honesty tell me that a read-option offense would work against a fast defense like the Seahawks had, can you?

      •  Well, Tebow sucks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TooFolkGR

        as an NFL QB, at any rate; I think that were Tebow not insisting on being a QB, he would still be in the league.

      •  There's more to distraction than media hype. (0+ / 0-)

        In terms of NFL personnel player evaluation it also means player focus, character, etc.

        College player as domestic incident with his baby mama, draft stock drops.

        In another case, small college player not on any draft boards gets noticed by one team.  They send staff to the the student's college AND high school and do research on the guy, confirm he's a humble guy with outstanding character.  Draft him 6th round.  He comes into training camp competing against a platoon of other running backs, ends up winning the starting job and is one of the top NFL rushers in his 2012 rookie season.  The player was Alfred Morris, who played for Washington, and the coach was Mike Shanahan, who has proven to be one of the best at identifying players that others pass over.

        In the case of Sam, the distraction the teams aren't going to focus on are locker room dynamics.  Their idea of distraction is whether Sam is really ready to handle all the scrutiny his entry into the NFL will bring on him.  The teams interested in drafting him will be talking to his coaches, teachers, and interviewing him to see if he's got he's got what it takes to handle the pressure of playing in the NFL.

        From a bottom line standpoint, the lower you can draft a guy, the less he's going to cost to sign.  As a 4th round pick, he'll probably generate more jersey/licensed product sales for the team than the typical midrounder, but not enough for management to pick or pass over him based on other talent availalbe in the draft.

        Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

        by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:54:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's hard to imagine a bigger distraction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, Glenn45

      than the Manti Te'o circus last year, and that undoubtedly dropped him from first-round to second-round draft pick, but he's doing just fine with the Chargers.   Teams make whatever they want to make out of this: blaming the circus seems more than a bit disingenuous (on their part, I mean.)

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:32:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tim Tebow (0+ / 0-)

      Had pretty obvious questions about his ability to run an NFL style offense even before his senior season.  He was not the first extraordinary college QB to not make it in the NFL.  It's a different game.  But neither that nor the circus surrounding him stopped him from being drafted quite high.  Teams are looking for ability.  Someone will take a chance on Mike Sam.

  •  if (4+ / 0-)

    Reports say his teammates and coaches knew his preferences--so it is a good bet the NFL scout combine already also knew.  This is the story of a brave man who was already a "distraction."  This is another Jackie Robinson story--different bigotry being attacked.  Are we exceptional?

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:01:37 PM PST

  •  NFL Teams want to win games (6+ / 0-)

    If he falls a little bit, great.  Some team will get a bargain, and that team will likely be a good fit.  Playing for a "Blue State" team would make more sense then say playing for Dallas or ____.   Would love for my Chargers to pick him up a little later in the draft (say 5th round vs 3rd round).  But  I really, really think, he falls a little bit, and then somebody with a certain need, will think that he just might not slip, and pull the trigger.  Maybe 1 round later then he would normally go.  

    Republicans - No solutions, just reasons why other peoples solutions will not work.

    by egarratt on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:01:38 PM PST

  •  How he deals with the media (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billso, ColoTim, cks175

    Will affect his draft position.  Manti Te'o was once projected as a likely late first-round pick.  Concerns about his non-girlfriend being a distraction dropped him on a lot of draft boards, but the Chargers ended up taking him in the early second round.

    Were I an NFL GM, I would not have a problem drafting Sam, but I would consider doing what San Diego did with Te'o and limit media access to him.  If Michael Sam had a problem with that plan, he would fall on my draft board.

  •  He was such a distraction at Missouri... (12+ / 0-)

    ...they had their best season in forever.  And, yes, they knew he was gay.

    "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs, who, however, has never learned to walk forward." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by bayman on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:03:01 PM PST

    •  Yes...the team knew (0+ / 0-)

      which creates an interesting dynamic...how out was Sam on campus?

      and it defintely wasn't a distraction for Missouri.

    •  That's not the distraction that's an issue. The (0+ / 0-)

      distraction player personnel types will be keying on will be Sam's ability to handle the media hype.  Sam will go through a thorough vetting process before he is considered for the draft, and if he is able to show them he possesess exceptional maturity and an abililty to handle that pressure, he'll do well in the draft.

      If he doesn't do well in the scouting combine process, then his stock will fall.  That happens with all the collegians who hope to get a chance to play in th NFL.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:09:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, are some "distractions" OK to act upon? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bearsguy, Cassandra Waites

    You wrote:

    It's also a pretty good definition of being a loser, because if you choose an inferior player simply because the better player was "a distraction," the message you're sending to your fans is that you'd rather be homophobic and lose than support equality and win.
    Hmmm...so, during the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin incident, when we learned this:
    During last night’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC, former Patriots V.P. of player personnel and Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli (who should be getting some credit for the talent he left for the new 9-0 regime in Kansas City) told Dan Patrick, ”I didn’t want [Incognito] coming out [of college], and I don’t want him now.”

    Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy echoed that sentiment earlier in the hour on The Dan Patrick Show.  Dungy explained that, when Incognito entered the draft in 2005, the Colts had him on the “DNDC” list, which means “do not draft because of character.”

    So, there are two teams for whom Incognito's character presented a "distraction" they didn't want; Incognito wound up slipping to the 81st pick in the 3rd round, which means that EVERY team in the NFL passed on him at least once. How do you classify those decisions?

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

    by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:04:33 PM PST

  •  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, FiredUpInCA, Mokislab
    Any club drafting Sam would add distractions for players, and teams normally work to avoid any distraction.
    What a load of shit.
  •  distractions (4+ / 0-)

    they have drafted players who have been arrested for assault, or drugs, or other issues.
    Apparently they did not constitute distractions.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:07:53 PM PST

  •  So CBS would say Tebow was... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RudiB

    ...a "sound football decision."

    Or something....

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:09:12 PM PST

    •  Denver was almost universally criticized for (0+ / 0-)

      taking Tebow in the first round.  Only Tebow fans thought it was the right move.

      Sam will get similar scrutiny.  His fans will think he was chosen too low, no matter where he's picked in the draft.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:10:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  oh the mello drama of being the first openly gay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akmk, cks175

    athelete, eh?

  •  Tim Tebow comes to mind as someone who (5+ / 0-)

    provided a distraction that had nothing to do with the game.    It's open to debate whether how much of it really was a distraction.  

    I think the Tim Tebows of the world do more to make draft agents skittish than any outright homophobia.  Frankly, if they can handle it in the Armed Forces, they can handle it in the NFL.

    The NFL isn't going to start proclaiming that they are tougher than the United States Marines, are they?

  •  My guess for Sam (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antimony

    5th round, New England. Belichick likes the 'tweener types who can make plays, and they need help on the line. It's also a no-BS locker room (led by a fashion model QB) in a region that, while not lacking in idiots, is otherwise solidly progressive. Also Belichick himself comes off as an evolved person, which means he won't care.

    "Milton Friedman's misfortune is that his policies have been tried."

    by el fuego on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:13:29 PM PST

  •  I hope he falls in the draft... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    ...for totally selfish reasons...so that the Bears can draft him at value in the later rounds and pick up a steal.  The Bears need all kinds of help along the defensive line and this kid could certainly help.  

    I am certain he will get a chance on a team somewhere - either as a draft pick or as an undrafted free agent.  If can play, he will stick.  It certainly seems like some team will get a "gay discount" getting a good prospect later in the draft because he's gay (which, let's be clear, is totally unforgivable and bigoted).  

  •  as to draft projections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, happy camper

    The experts are horrible at it.  So perhaps it is best to not get too worked up about it ahead of time.

  •  Understanding draft rankings... (0+ / 0-)

    You can look at these from two perspectives - a player's ranking at his position and a player's ranking among all potential draftees.

    If you look at the former, Sam's ranking dropped from "the 9th best defensive end in the draft" to "the 11th best defensive end in the draft."  That is NOT an unusually steep drop for a player whose most recent performance (the Senior Bowl) was NOT impressive.  (Take a look at Bleacher Report's analysis of Sam's Senior Bowl for details/comments from several sources.)

    Now, looking at Sam's overall draft ranking presents a more interesting question. He dropped from "72nd best overall prospect" to "110th best overall prospect." So, the question is--because we're now talking about comparing every player in the draft, regardless of position--is it reasonable to suggest that 38 players improved their stock at Sam's expense on skills and/or performance alone? Well, how many players had a GREAT Senior Bowl, or a GREAT bowl game? Keep in mind that if some offensive lineman goes from the overall "79th best" to the overall "71st best", that lineman just pushed Sam's overall ranking down one step without affecting his ranking at DE.

    It isn't as simple as some would like it to be, and I don't think we can automatically ascribe it to homophobia.

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

    by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:25:51 PM PST

    •  Apparently he was playing (0+ / 0-)

      a totally different position in the Senior Bowl without adequate preparation -- that's more a fault of the coaching than it is the player. I think performance at the combine will rank higher when GMs are setting up their draft boards.

      But the Senior Bowl was a few weeks ago -- how did the projections change so drastically in a time period where no games have been played or workouts held? Sure, he might have dropped overall as teams re-adjust their needs; a team that might have picked him up in the 3rd round might have decided that they need to focus on a different position instead, especially with injuries, retirements or players leaving as free agents. But you can't deny that in some cases, homophobia might be a factor.

      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 01:02:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No doubt... (0+ / 0-)

        ...I just think that ascribing ALL (or most) of Sam's drop to homophobia is a bit much - and that it skirts dangerously close to confirmation bias.

        I think (but cannot confirm) that this was the first rankings update since the Senior Bowl 3 weeks ago...and it was a major shakeup:

        NFLDraftScout.com has Sam ranked as the No. 110 overall prospect. An initial drop to 160 from 90 on Monday morning was part of a comprehensive adjustment in the rankings leading up to next week's scouting combine that generated movement among hundreds of prospects. In all, 65 of the top 350 prospects were affected by the rankings update, and Sam was never intended to drop past No. 110. The bottom line is Sam's announcement will affect his position on the draft boards of some teams, but NFLDraftScout.com currently projects him as a third- to fourth-round prospect overall, with all factors considered.
        It's also worth repeating that Sam's more important ranking--his ranking at his position--only dropped from 9th to 11th, which is wholly consistent with concerns raised from his Senior Bowl performance.  He's a tweener, and tweeners have a hard time "fitting into" an NFL roster.

        I think this guy has it about right - yes, Sam's announcement will drop his stock on the draft boards of some teams, but (to be honest) just about ANYTHING can drop you on a given team's draft board.

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

        by wesmorgan1 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:20:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just like the "Big" distraction in Chicago (0+ / 0-)

    Brandon Marshall that turned out to be a Big attraction!! Chicago could possibly be a Team destination. They face a complete Def. overhaul, lack Cap space, Go get Him!!~

  •  Best Pass Rusher in Best Conference (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper

    His record speaks for itself. He had more sacks than any player in the SEC. The SEC is the most competitive conference in all of college football.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:36:26 PM PST

    •  At least according to the (0+ / 0-)

      supposedly knowledgeable people who submit their ballots to the polls.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:46:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Draft Picks and High School Recruits (0+ / 0-)

        The talent level in the SEC is demonstrably higher than it is in the other college conferences. More SEC players are drafted into the NFL than from any other conference. More ranked high school seniors go to SEC schools than any other conference. It doesn't always mean the SEC produces the best teams every year, and  some years other conferences have more than one powerhouse team, but look at the stats and facts from the last decade or two and they speak for themselves. I am not even a  hard core college football fan, but living in Louisiana its hard to avoid the subject.

        Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

        by bywaterbob on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:03:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  All part of the same network of (0+ / 0-)

          evaluators. Let's analyze the SB champ roster to dig a little deeper. The Seahawks listed 78 players on their roster. I separated them by conference, and lo and behold, the SEC tops the list at 18 players, followed by the Pac12 with 13, the Big10 and ACC with 8 and so on. Sounds right, and in accordance with your version of this truly unnknowable truth.
          The sheer numbers, though don't seem to tell the tale here. If we rank the conferences by average years played by each representative, we find that the lowly AAU of Louisville and Memphis has produced players who have stuck on the Seahawks roster the longest--surely some decent measure of talent. (And their numbers weren't skewed by any potential outliers like a kicker, who actually came from the CFL and hasn't been on the roster all that long any way.)
          Granted, there are only 3 players from the AAU on the team, so let's go to the next highest average, which comes from the Pac12. Not much to add there; nobody sane disputes their place among CFB's elite. Next up comes the Mountain West, then the Big10, then the non-aligned/FBS schools which I lumped together, and at last we come to the SEC. (They did beat out the Big12, the ACC, and ConfUSA, so don't feel too bad for them.)
          The picture drawn here is that the SEC players get drafted more often, but they are not be sticking any more often than any other conference's players, and indeed do worse than many other conferences regardless of pedigree.
          Does this mean that while in college these players aren't the best? No, but we have no way of proving this. Are the Seahawks an outlier? Perhaps, but they are this year's outlier in the best way possible, proving it on the field against the best teams in the league, which is extremely rarely the case in college, where it is impossible to state with honest certainty which teams are really on top.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 09:33:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Being best DE in college doesn't equate to being (0+ / 0-)

      best linebacker in the NFL.  Some players make the transition from one position to another well, others, not so much.  That's one of the things makes draft analysis so interesting.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CBS dumped Rather over Bush. Sucked ever since.n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  How many past and present players (0+ / 0-)

    were/are gay but didn't make it public?  Considering how many players there were/are, there is no chance that no players were gay.

    •  Look at the folks like Dave Kopay, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cks175

      Esaru Tuaolo, and Wade Davis who came out after their retirement -- they didn't just retire from the NFL and decide that "Hey, I'm gay now that I'm done playing." (Wikipedia actually has a decent list of players who have come out.) They were gay in their playing days, they just kept it to themselves. And how many players are there that never came out after their playing days?

      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 01:10:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NFL Films did a documentary about Jerry Smith (0+ / 0-)

      From wikipedia:

      Gerald "Jerry" Sanford Smith (July 19, 1943 – October 15, 1986) was a professional American football tight end for the National Football League's Washington Redskins from 1965–1977. By the time he retired he held the NFL record for most career touchdowns by a tight end.[1] A 2014 documentary from the NFL Network's A Football Life series profiles his career, as well as his "double life as a closeted gay man and a star athlete."
      He died of AIDS in 1986 and is a member of Washington's "Ring of Honor" (team Hall of Fame).  

      Check out the documentary if you get the chance.

      Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

      by cks175 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 10:22:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We heard all this about DADT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe

    When the military ended Don't Ask Don't Tell, there were all kinds of projections about how it would be gloom and despair.  

    Anyone hear anything about how this has in any way hurt anything in the military since?  

    Nope.

    This is a smoke screen.  Whoever gets Michael Sam will get a first class player and will probably get him on the cheap because of all this nonsense.

  •  CBS Sports is a silly site (0+ / 0-)

    For example, they have this guy predict who'll end up in the big bowl games and he starts at the beginning of the season. He's never right. Then when teams start losing he changes his "predictions" until the last couple of weeks he's putting out what everybody else already knows.

    And then, if he's still wrong, he'll predict something absurdly obvious. Like this year he started out Alabama vs Ohio State and then, after they both lost and it was clear that it would be Florida State and Auburn, he "predicted" they'd meet in the title game.

    They also have a basketball guy who loves Golden State and consistently ranks them ahead of (just to pick a team at random) Portland, even though Portland is well ahead of Golden State in the standings.

    I think they just like to stir up controversy. They must know that people enjoy telling them how stupid they are, thus increasing traffic and upping ad revenue.

    Dear NSA: I am only joking.

    by Shahryar on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:49:09 PM PST

    •  From my listening yesterday (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cks175

      and this morning, CBS Sports Radio has been doing a good job with the discussion -- the hosts I've heard have been pretty much supportive (I overslept and missed John Feinstein; would have liked to hear his take).

      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 01:12:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this diary about football, homophobia or poor (0+ / 0-)

    journalism. CBenghaziS expects people to find them credible on this subject? Let's have a story about NFL tax exempt status and I might be inclined to take them seriously about a story of an extremely talented football facing discrimination player because of his sexual orientation. This is journalistic cotton candy. All it does is incite more hate rather than address it.

    “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 12:55:48 PM PST

  •  Donte Stallworth, a former NFL WR, tweeted today. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nota bene

    I got this block quote from NESN, please click on the link below to give them some traffic.

    February 10, 2014 If any NFL team can't "handle the media coverage" of drafting Sam, then your team is already a loser on the field... let me tell you why... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 There are a multitude of issues that can arise in the long duration of an NFL season... some on the field, some off the field. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 You won't have any idea what that on the field/off the field situation is until it's already upon you and the entire organization... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Which means that with drafting Michael Sam, you get a jump start on controlling the "media coverage" right from the onset. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 If an organization is inept to the magnitude of not being able to control things with prior knowledge, how will you handle the unexpected? — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Case Study 1: The Miami Dolphins and the bullying scandal... players talked more about THAT than they did football... for weeks! — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 During that time I questioned (tweeted) why the Dolphins players were talking more about the scandal than their next opponent.... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Since the bullying story broke, the Dolphins finished the season 4-4...w/playoff hopes still alive, got spanked by division opp Jets, 20-7 — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Case Study 2: The New England Patriots and Aaron Hernandez AND Tim Tebow situations... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Beyond the state of shock I endured after the revelations of Hernandez, I knew that if ANY organization could handle this, it was the Pats. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 This all happened right before training camp where players are supposed to come in w/clear minds in preparation for a long, rigorous season. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Not only were there questions about Aaron, but also about the health of Gronkowski and how those two combined affected the team as a whole. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Aaron is still awaiting trial & Gronk played in only 7 games this season...but yet the Pats seemed to avoid those "distractions" altogether. — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Despite many season ending injuries to key pieces, the Pats finished 12-4 and lost to the Broncos in the AFC title with... ZERO distractions — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Not to mention the whole Tebow signing and (alleged subsequent) distraction wasn't even a blip on most radars... Why? — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 Because Mr. Kraft and Bill Belichick would not allow ANY of that to be a "distraction" to ANYONE in the entire organization... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 In my 10 years as an NFL player, I've played for 6 different teams & have been in every kind of locker room. Vet, young, mature, immature... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 The leaders of an NFL organization AND the locker room better be able to handle adversity that is certain to emerge during a long NFL season — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    February 10, 2014 In my experience, if your organization can't "handle media coverage", they will suck on the field anyway... but hey, there's always 2015... — Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth)

    Read more at: Donte Stallworth post at NESN

    Mr. Sam played with another DE on Missouri Kori Ealy, who is expected to be drafted earlier, most likely in the 1st round (this was true before Mr. Sam went public). I mention this because you are probably going to start hearing that Mr. Sam's numbers are suspect because he played better against the "bad" teams or because Mr. Ealy got the bulk of the attention during pass blocking. Unfortunate, but just so you all know.

    And before anyone targets New England as a destination for Mr. Sam, he won't even be considered for drafting if his arms aren't long enough and his shuttle time at the combine isn't among the best for his position. Bill Belichick has specific expectations in these areas for linebackers and edge rushers. No I don't know why, but he has a lot of Super Bowl rings and a lot of playoff appearances, so I give him the benefit of the doubt on these things.  But if he does have long arms and a quick shuttle time, he would be a good fit for the Patriots. They need a pass rusher to rotate with C. Jones and R. Ninkovitch.  

    And Belichick runs his drafting like an insurance guy running an actuarial table. He always tries to get the most value for each pick. There are many GMs the same way (Seattle, San Francisco, Baltimore). If Sam is among the 200+ best values in the upcoming draft, a team will take him. It's always about making money, and winning makes money.

    "Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake." - Jon Stewart; The Daily Show

    by Uwaine on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:02:56 PM PST

  •  If football is about rape and posting the video... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to your facebook account.....

    Then they are right.  He just ain't gonna fit in.

  •  Distraction? (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry.  In today's world being gay is only a distraction to a politically correct audience  with its roots in the 1950's.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:47:45 PM PST

  •  Facebook pal of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nota bene

    Sarcastically came out as straight on Facebook.

    I sarcastically  congratulated him for getting that weight off his chest. That one day he wouldn't be marginalized and told to shut up. He PMD me.

    I'll PM this to you..... I'm guessing you were using just as much sarcasm as I was. But it's hard to feel sorry for a gay person feeling like everyone's against them, when that's CLEARLY not the case with the general publics view. Especially when, as a Christian, I've faced ridicule and backlash on almost a constant basis. If it's not directly at me, then to Christians in general. Here's an idea Michael Sam.... If you shut up about liking men, I won't try to force feed Jesus to you, ok??
    I told him (his profile pic is him and his wife together:
    Would you consider your profile picture "in your face"? If you hold your wife's hand in public it won't get a second look from anybody.  You will not have people come up to you and have say to keep your sexuality to yourself. To a lot of homosexuals that is what makes them second class citizens. They are told to shutup and hide. If Michael Sam is successful ( and he hurt his draft stock...it would have been wiser to come out after he signs a contract) he actually will likely have saved lives. Consider that. People get bullied for being gay (even if they aren't actually gay, people have been beaten and murdered, and even raped for being gay. People have killed themselves). I have certainly seen people say cruel things about "Jesus Freaks" but if you are honest with yourself, being a straight white Christian male in this country has been very good to you and me. remember that jason Collins was only "in your face" in the news for a few days. Fact is his career was already over. Sam's hasn't even begun.  Soon will come the day that nobody will think twice about anybodies orientation, being open won't be considered "in your face" for one group. I am certainly not always successful at this, and I do get offended and annoyed at things. I usually try and put myself in other's shoes. Look at their perspective. Does one view point actually infringe on another person? Does one actually harm another? Can both coexist? Can there be a middle ground? Would I feel different if that person were my brother, my spouse, my friend, me?  It can be difficult. Even if you think it is reprehensible and disgusting etc...you can acknowledge that other people being happy does not actually harm you. Keeping them from being happy does in fact harm them. Peace.

    The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

    by gossamer1234 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 01:53:50 PM PST

  •  Draft stock rises... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cks175

    Draft stock falls. The combine is yet to come, and those performances will change draft stock yet again. In the end, Sam's performance on the field pretty much guarantees that he'll be drafted reasonably close to his original projection: 3rd or 4th round. He is by all accounts an affable and outgoing guy, well liked by his teammates and coaches, which counts for a lot. He has no criminal, drug, or other off-field issues.

    The ability to play football at the NFL level is a rare talent, and that counts for more than anything else.

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

    by happy camper on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 03:06:03 PM PST

  •  It's a self-fulfilling prophecy (0+ / 0-)

    The media will keep hounding Sam, thus creating a distraction.

  •  Panes et circenses...and we're getting rather (0+ / 0-)

    stingy with the bread though perhaps too lavish with the circuses...until it comes to how we treat the gladiators.  With far less than the respect they deserve for risking life and limb for our 'amusement'.  So comes along a brave young man who speaks the truth...the sports commentariat of the MSM goes all 'yuck...' while Deion Sanders tweets brave approval.
    I propose the abolition of the sports commentariat as equally useless and pernicious as the political commentariat.  

    Armed! I feel like a savage! Barbarella

    by richardvjohnson on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 03:25:03 PM PST

  •  Distraction is somewhat legit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfsly

    It's a big reason that Tebow can't get a spot. He's not a good QB, but there have been much worse QBs getting backup jobs in the NFL over him. Teams don't want him not because of his beliefs, but because of the media scrutiny and the rabid fanbase causing distractions.

    There's likely some of that here as well. There are most probably quite a few GMs and coaches right now that have no problem with homosexuality that are moving him down the draft board because they don't want the media attention and potential problems that having the first openly gay player might bring.

    Teams do whatever they can to reduce distractions, whatever the form. In this case that might make them cowardly; that might make them short-sighted; that might make them smart, if a distraction does occur on whatever team he ends up on; but it doesn't necessarily make them homophobic.

    "No children have ever meddled with the Republican Party and lived to tell about it." - Sideshow Bob

    by ThinkerT on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 03:48:09 PM PST

  •  Missouri went 12-2 (0+ / 0-)

    And the coach and all his teammates knew he was gay. That doesn't sound like a distraction to me.

    When he is drafted, it will be a story for a week. It will be a story for a couple of days when training camp starts, and maybe for a couple of days leading to game 1.

  •  ... (0+ / 0-)

    Sadly, and while I hope it's not the case as I'm a Mizzou fan and love Sam, this could happen.  And your right, it is homophobia, both in the locker room and in the GM office.   We will know a lot more after the combine.  

  •  A distraction? What do they think, (0+ / 0-)

    that he's going to be walking around the locker room with an errection or something?  Time to grow up, NFL.

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