The NFL has been having something of a . . . “sensitivity” problem, let’s just put it that way. Accusations of institutional racism, homophobia and misogyny have been levelled at the league, and it could stand to — in the words of Otis Redding — try a little tenderness. With any luck, that could include recruiting the league’s first openly gay player.
In a video posted to the The Neww York Times, NFL prospect Michael Sam came out as gay, and as a favourite for early-round draft picks, media outlets are already pegging him as a likely candidate to be professional football’s first out player.
[Screengrab via John Francis Peters for The New York Times]
Sam opened up about his experience coming out to his teammates, saying “[O]nce I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was [ . . . ] I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who’s a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay. I was so proud of myself and I just didn’t care who knew. If someone on the street would have asked me, ‘Hey, Mike, I heard you were gay; is that true?’ I would have said yes.”
When asked if anyone ever inquired about his sexuality, he added, “I guess they don’t want to ask a 6-3, 260-pound defensive lineman if he was gay or not.” Aaaaaaaaaand sploosh.
Obviously, there’s going to be as much focus placed on his sexuality as there will be on his talent, but considering just how regressive the NFL is coming across in the press — seriously, you named the Washington team what exactly? — recruiting Michael Sam would be a huge step in the right direction. Do the right thing, football.
Oh, and cut it out with the friggin’ Super Bowl commericals already. Doritos do not need that much advertising.