[NecoleBitchie] Not if you believe a few NFL executives that wish to remain anonymous.
Before yesterday, Michael Sam was just another draft pick with the possibility of fulfilling his NFL dream, but overnight he’s become front page news. The University of Missouri NFL prospect decided to take a big leap of faith yesterday by coming out to the world, and in doing so, he fell 70 points on the CBS Draft Board, moving from #90 to #160 overnight.
Even more shocking, is the reports who have quoted NFL executives who think that the league is not ready for a gay football player, and because of this, they predict he may not get drafted.
One executive told Sports Illustrated:
The question you will ask yourself, knowing your team, is, ‘How will drafting him affect your locker room?’ And I am sorry to say where we are at this point in time, I think it’s going to affect most locker rooms. A lot of guys will be uncomfortable. Ten years from now, fine. But today, I think being openly gay is a factor in the locker room.”
I asked this general manager: “Do you think he’ll be drafted?”
“No,” he said.
I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet. In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game.
Despite executives speaking anonymously, the NFL has offered up their support in a statement which read:
We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014!
First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as a few sports figures also tweeted their support:
Michelle Obama: You’re an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn’t be prouder of your courage both on and off the field. -mo
Jason Collins: For the past 2 days I have met with
@MikeSamFootball here in LA. He is a great young man who has shown tremendous courage and leadership
Johnathan Martin (Miami Dolphins): Hats off to you Michael Sam, that takes some guts
Kirk Morrison (FOX Sports): Michael Sam much respect. #Salute
Steve Gleason (formerly New Orleans Saints): If I had to make a prediction… I think the
@Mikesamfootball story will end up being a good story. Players care about how u play & act. It appears that @Mikesamfootball is a very high character guy. Beyond athletics, this is what u need in the locker room, & on the field.
DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers): I could care less about a man’s sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!
Deion Sanders: Michael Sam isn’t the 1st gay player in the NFL although he is the 1st 2 come out.#realtalk Let’s show him love like a family member. Truth
The defensive lineman said he came out to his team last August, although he had already shared his sexuality with his family, and everyone couldn’t have been more supportive.
“I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay. Is this a huge deal? I understand it is, but my focus and purpose is playing football.[…]I came out to my team this last August. Coming out to them, they rallied around me. They supported me. I knew in that moment that this could happen anywhere else. If my team could support me, any team could support me. Just the love and support they gave me this past season just showed. We got a twelve and two record so we had success. It was not difficult for me to come out to my team. Everyone was just [shaking] their head like, ‘Finally, Michael Sam came out.’ It was very [supportive]. I was kind of nervous like, ‘Man. I’m actually doing it.’ Seeing it how everyone’s reaction was so awesome. These are my teammates. These are my brothers. I can play for these guys.
“When I came out to my family they said they still loved me for who I was. They were proud of me. They already knew. They were pretty much waiting for me to tell them even though we had a lot of hardships growing up, I couldn’t be prouder of my parents and how supportive it was for me. They’re old school and they love me. I’m the baby boy.”
On why he decided to come out
“I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. I’m comfortable with who I am and I didn’t want anyone to break a story without me telling it. I want to tell it the way I want to tell it. It’s 2014. I can’t tell society to agree with this or not to agree with this, but hopefully society will rally around me and support me, too.”
“I don’t think I should be defined as ‘Michael Sam, the gay athlete [or] the gay football player.’ I want to be defined as Michael Sam for being a great person and [having] great character. I want to be a football player. I want to be playing in the NFL. Just to see people to see this that I may be the first, but I won’t be the last. And I think only good things is gonna come from this.”
Good luck to him! It’s brave to openly live your truth. Hopefully this doesn’t affect his chances of getting drafted.