You’ve likely heard that Missouri DE Michael Sam came out of the closet and looks poised to become the first active, openly gay NFL player in history, as well as the fist active, openly gay athlete in all four major American sports.
A few anonymous NFL executives have said some dumb things that suggest he might slip or and even fall out of the 2014 NFL Draft altogether, but it still seems like a virtual guarantee that he will play in the NFL next year.
But there’s another weird, unfortunate wrinkle to the story. Check out this SportsCenter segment, where Chris Mortensen appears to suggest that Sam didn’t get to reveal the news completely on his own terms.
But my understanding is that Cameron Weiss, who is one of his representatives, says they feel it was about to be publicized regardless of that, and that is one reason why they decided to do it before the combine.
Maybe this was just poorly worded by Mort, but that definitely suggests that Sam may have wanted to hold off on the announcement, for some period of time, but had to take action before somebody else did. If there’s really someone out there who would’ve outed him — that’s pretty horrible. Or perhaps it would’ve been similar to the Kerry Rhodes situation, where nobody officially outed the guy, but the assumption is that he’s gay and that he’s been blackballed because of that assumption.
It’s a pretty unfortunate wrinkle to an otherwise legendary story of courage. And it’s pretty disgusting that this also happened. A writer was talking to an NFL scouting director, before this was public knowledge… and the director mentioned “some character things” about Sam. Unsurprisingly, NFL teams had been snooping around and pretty much knew that he was gay.
…what’s troublesome about the Sam story is how it was characterized as a “character issue” he felt the need to confirm on a player who, by all accounts, had the highest respect from his teammates and coaches.
I won’t harp on that, because hopefully it’s an isolated, idiotic quote, and not a real issue. But, it was said. That’s bullshit.
Regardless, it has been done. Hopefully it was entirely on his own terms, but it seems like that may not have been the case. It’s still an uplifting story of bravery, and it will be a fascinating story to watch unfold. The reaction has been mostly encouraging so far.
All that’s left is to wait and see how dumb NFL executives can be, and to see if there’s any legitimacy to the whole “distraction” thing. The only thing we know for sure is that the media will turn this into a circus. Hopefully, it’s a fun one.