5 Perfect Reactions to Michael Sam’s Coming Out
If the recent Superbowl wasn’t enough to convince anyone that American football stands as the last bastion of the American dude’s inalienable right to dude-initude, the vortex of “concern” about Michael Sam — an All-American defensive lineman and the Associated Press’ defensive player of the year — proves it.
Sam, sitting down with the New York Times on Sunday, went on the record with something that his teammates had been told before the beginning of the season — that he was gay. With that, Sam set himself up to be the first active player in any of the Big Three American professional sports — the MLB, the NFL, and the NBA — to come out. While NBA center Jason Collins made headlines in 2013 for doing the same, he was a free agent well into his career at age 34 and he has actually not played a game since his announcement.
For Michael Sam — who’s draft stock has been all over the map but has always been a surefire draft pick (not a given in the NFL), a player at the outset of his professional career — he’s entering uncharted waters. With players and teams butting heads over how much support should be given to same-sex anything, and the very real possibility that Sam just cut his future earnings in half (if not more), anyone would be forgiven for letting their curiosity over the response overtake the fact that history was being made.
After all, this is a sport that actively courts the stereotypically masculine male fantasy with approximately a million-and-a-half light beer and big truck commercials every season, repositioning the idea of concussion safety as a war on the game itself. If there’s any sports culture so ready to put its foot in its mouth, it’s football. With that in mind, here’s five commentators, players, and NFL types who actually set a positive example.