Talk about brave. Talk about a bold move. Talk about being comfortable in your own skin. You would be talking about Michael Sam. Just weeks ahead of the NFL Draft, Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year from the Missouri Tigers announced that he is gay.
I give the kid a lot of credit, he took a huge risk but it was more important to him that people know who he is, and now he has no skeletons in his closet, nothing to hide, he outed himself before some journalist got a leak and tried to make a name for himself at Sam’s expense. Good for him.
Now, we are talking about the macho sport of professional football, so to think that there wouldn’t be some sort of backlash or “unacceptance” by some NFL players would be naïve. But it would be even more naïve to think that there aren’t already gay players in the NFL (and other major sports as well), that just haven’t come out of the proverbial closet yet.
Our society still has a lot of issues, but we are much more accepting of people’s lifestyle choices then we were say, 20 years ago. I admit, I have noticed a change in my own views. Back in the day when I was in high school in the 80’s I would look at a gay person and snicker and might have a choice comment or two to my friends. Fast forward to today, I’m older, wiser, have a wife, 2 kids and I tend to look at things more logically and less emotionally, and my thought is vastly different. If that’s who they are, that’s who they are; there is nothing wrong with it. I think back in the day, we all used to think because someone was ‘gay’ there were going to try and “put the moves on us”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because a guy is gay, and may see you in the locker room doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to jump you. Get over yourself.
Take a heterosexual man, and we all know, men are pigs when it comes to sex, you see an attractive woman and right away your thoughts go to sex, don’t lie…I’m a guy, I know what happens! But, not every woman you look at makes you want to have sex with her, right? Well the same would go for a gay person, just because he (or she) is attracted to the same gender, doesn’t mean they want to “do” anyone and everyone in that same gender.
Now, we all know it’s going to happen. Michael Sam will get drafted, and he will be in a locker room full of naked men, showering and changing together, and someone will accuse him of “looking” or “leering” at him. Again, get over yourself. That’s just homophobia at its best. Most of us can’t know what it’s like living with that secret unless you are gay. But the rest of us can accept people for whom they are and just let them live their lives like we are allowed to live ours. I know there are people who don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, and that’s fine too, but just as we are allowed to pick our partner’s, so should everyone else, male or female.
I think it’s great that high profile people are not trying to hide who they really are. Take Anderson Cooper, high profile news correspondent, came out and it didn’t hurt his career. Ellen Degeneres is outward about her orientation, and last I looked it wasn’t hurting her career either. Bottom line is if Michael Sam or any other gay athlete can help your team win, Is a good locker room guy, and an all around good person, does it really matter what he does behind closed doors?
Here’s my feeling....with the amount of liberalism in the US today, I think Michael Sam’s decision will be widely accepted, and I won’t be the least bit surprised if he has sponsors with endorsements deals lining up to pay him to endorse their products.
Our world is becoming much more tolerant, and all for the better.
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