Michael Sam Has Chosen To Be An Absolute Hypocrite

michael-sam1I can already tell I’m going to get bashed by some for writing this, and that’s fine, but honestly it needs to be said.  I’ve been an avid supporter of Michael Sam and gay rights in general.  I understand the historical significance of him being the first openly gay athlete drafted into the NFL, and I actually watched the 7th round of the NFL Draft (something I’ve never done) hoping to see him drafted.

But I believed Michael Sam when he said, following his initial interview where he came out as gay, that from then on he wanted to just be treated as a football player – not a gay football player.

Then he was drafted – which was a great day for gay rights.  I get why ESPN had cameras at his house and why it was a big story for a couple of days.  While I think there was definitely overkill, I understood why.

Though I wrote an article saying I was sick of hearing about the story, I did so because I wanted to respect Michael Sam’s wishes that we view him as a football player, not a gay football player.  So I felt this over saturation of the media coverage about his homosexuality was a slap in the face to what he had asked of people.

But then I heard about a documentary-type reality show he had agreed to do with Oprah’s OWN network.  A show that’s now been postponed.

So, let me understand this.  Michael Sam tells the world that he wants to only be known as a football player, not a gay football player, yet he agrees to do a reality show following his journey to make the St. Louis Rams?

As what, a 7th round draft pick?  Oh, no.  That’s right – as the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL.

Not only that, but the St. Louis Rams didn’t even know about this show when they drafted him, so he put them in an extremely awkward position when it was made public.  Apparently he had the deal with OWN for a while, but didn’t want to scare off teams that might draft him.

So here we had Sam, telling people that he wanted to be treated like any other football player, agreeing to a reality show that focused on the fact that he was the first gay football player drafted into the NFL.  On top of that, he apparently purposefully hid this agreement to do the show because he didn’t want teams to avoid drafting him if they knew about it.

I’m sorry, but none of this sits well with me.  To me, he’s a hypocrite.  He’s standing there telling people he just wants to be treated like every other football player, but he thought having a camera crew following him around during training camp to “tell his story” made him like every other football player?

He’s a 7th round pick.  You know what “normal” 7th round picks do?  They fight like hell to make the team, hoping for at least a practice squad invitation if they don’t make it.  They’re certainly not starring in reality shows about their journey.

To me what he’s trying to do is profit from the fact that he’s the NFL’s first gay athlete while acting like he doesn’t want to be treated any differently.  Well, if that were true, he wouldn’t have ever agreed to do a reality show which was only “postponed” because the Rams were taken aback when they found out about it (and rightfully so).  Even the NFL is claiming they didn’t know about the deal he struck with OWN until the days after the draft when it was made public.

He needs to make a decision on what he wants.  If he wants to be known as the first openly gay athlete in the NFL, then own that.  I have no problem with it.  But don’t tell people you want to be treated as just another football player instead of a “gay football player,” then agree to do things which clearly differentiate yourself from every other player in the NFL because you’re gay.

I still wish the best for Michael Sam and I hope that he’s given a fair chance to make the team.  No matter what happens with his career, he’s clearly opened the door for other athletes to come out and be proud of who they are.

But I’m absolutely disappointed that he had ever agreed to do this reality show in the first place.  A reality show which he was only offered because he’s gay – all while telling everyone that would listen that he didn’t want to be treated any differently because of his sexual orientation.

In my opinion, that just makes him a hypocrite.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Mark Heil

    He’s what, 21, 22 years old? Cut him some slack. No one that age will always make the most rational or logical decisions, let alone someone in the national spotlight with half of the country loving him and the other half despising his existence. There’s a lot of pressure put on every decision he has to make.

    • Bine646

      He just signed a million dollar contract to do one thing- play football. Any 21 or 22 yr old who has been on the field since 5 understands that distractions (whether thats a gf or reality series) would take away time and energy from what you are supposed to be doing- playing football.

      He signed the contract with the Rams, he fully understands his obligations and what is expected of him.

      The only pressure that he has is to perform, just like every other football player (u know the ones he wanted to be like).

      Google Cris Kluwe- kicker for the Vikings. Made it his mission to fight for gay rights. That fight took away time obviously he needed to become a better player. He put up mediocre numbers and was replaced by a rookie who could actually perform. Where is Kluwe now? Home crying that it wasnt because his numbers were avg but because bigots kicked him outta the league. The NFL is based on perfomance, you dont perform you dont get paid/play. Simple as that

    • Joseph Kool

      He’s 24 years old and he’s playing the gay card for everything it’s worth.

  • Kara

    Agreed and well said.

  • Whatever happened to that airplane?

  • Maggie Dee

    I kind of agree that this does seem hypocritical of Michael but because of his age and inexperience I think that the Army of Oprah probably did a number on him. Bombarding him with all the reasons he should do this. Oprah is doing this young man a great harm by using her formidable tactics on him to get him to agree to this. I’m sure she and her teams tactics could make even a more experienced person cave and sign on the dotted line. So before we totally castigate this youngster for what we think is hypocritical, lets toss a bit of the blame on O’s Army.

  • Janie Garbo Goss

    Sounds like you’re the hypocrite to me.

    • Bine646

      Sam said he wants to be like every other player- what lineman as a rookie (or a veteran for that matter) has a reality series following him around for a season? That makes you like every other player- pffffff

  • Robert Grabowsky

    Well lets see a racist or a hypocrite,both would be irattional decisions but one gets you banned for life and fined the other we have yet to see what it warents.

  • Pipercat

    I don’t believe for a nanosecond that he’s guaranteed to make the team. Assuming he doesn’t, then what? It was a business decision and he’s within his rights to accept the offer from OWN. Until we find out who reached out to whom, the application of hypocrisy must be tabled; moreover, hypocrisy with this logic is subjective and dubious at best. NFL players always live on the edge of oblivion. One play and it’s one for the ages; the next, and the career is over. You need to definitely cut the guy some slack.

    • Bine646

      Then the contract he signed to do a reality show on his transition into the NFL would be voided bc well- he wasnt drafted.

      No team would not draft him bc he was gay but they would if they knew itd be a distraction from the ultimate goal- winning a superbowl

      • Pipercat

        Huh?

      • Bine646

        Players are drafted to teams and paid millions of dollars to win superbowls- not to make reality shows for nonNFL affiliated companies (OWN).

        Anyone who follows the NFL knows that they own all licensing agreements to do any production associated with their name. If it has NFL in it- you can bet they had a part in creating it. I do not think the NFL knew about Oprahs attempt to secure this reality series because for 1- the rams certainly didnt and they are trying to win games. They need players who are focused, players who willing to work hard and compete. A distraction like a reality series, especially for a rookie who is new to the system, would definitely take away not only focus but also the time he would need to adapt to this new level of football.

        Kid needs to focus on football, not this

      • Pipercat

        He has these guys called agents. These agents are going to make deals because, they don’t make money unless he can make money. So, they created this hedge. Now the NFL was aware of this deal and didn’t make any overtures one way or another. Then the Rams drafted Sam, in the 7th round, and discovered the deal. They protested and his agents tabled the deal once they discovered the Rams had objections. Regardless, mission accomplished for the agents and their client.

        Now if Sam makes the team this deal will probably get dropped permanently. If he doesn’t, he can use this as another hedge while he looks for another team.

      • Bine646

        Mission accomplished for the agents and their client? Did they win games and a superbowl…..did they accomplish that?

        Google Chris Kluwe and see how his “hedges” worked out for him. Hope it was worth it.

      • Pipercat

        Irrelevant. They (his agents) made a business decision. There was a objection and they made another business decision.

        Whether the Rams win games or the Superbowl, is not relevant because this is still the off-season. If the deal remains tabled, then there is no distraction and hence, no controversy.

      • Bine646

        The fact that you say that winning games and championships is”irrelevant” proves you do not understand why the Rams are paying this man millions of dollars.

        Being a professional athlete is a full time job, the offseason is not an offseason. Its a time when these players recuperate from the season and begin training for the next. All of the work off the field helps you win on the field. Minicamps have already started- preparation has already begun.

      • Pipercat

        That has nothing to do with this issue. The deal was made before the Rams signed him. Once he was signed, by the Rams, the deal became moot. The rest is all pure speculation and drawn conclusions on your part.

      • Bine646

        The show was based on him being the first openly gay nfl football player being drafted into the league. Hence he would need to be drafted for the show to be filmed? The only reason the deal became “moot” is because the Rams want him focused on football, learning the new system and winning games. Not this side show which would be a huge distraction from what he was drafted and paid to do.

      • Pipercat

        Exactly, his agents realized that it would jeopardize his chances of making the team and they tabled the deal. They said as much in the link provided in the article. Now if Sam had insisted that the show go on as planned, then your argument would be valid.

      • Bine646

        They “tabled” the deal after the Rams took an issue, after they drafted him- bc they didnt tell them until after

        His agents understand his obligation as an NFL player. Priority number one is performing

      • Pipercat

        I’ve been saying that all along. In fact, my original comment was challenging this notion of hypocrisy posited by Clifton. Business is business and the show was a business proposition, there was a business objection and there was a business decision not to Jeopardize Sam making the team.

        Now if he get’s cut down the road, then this thing will bubble back to the surface. If not, then it will disappear and be forgotten.

      • Bine646

        You do know the Rams had no idea about this TV deal until after they drafted Sam right?

        Sam’s business decision should of been solely on making a NFL team, winning games and securing more contracts that way- whether that be deals with Nike or a contract extension w the Rams or another team. Not lying to a team and his teammates about wanting to be one of them- then try showing up with a production crew on day1.

        Business is business- NFL is the biggest sports business in the country. They blacklist players all the time for shenanigans, most notably Chris Kluwe. How did his “position” work out for him? Lost millions for what?

        Now the NFL may have caught wind of this deal before the draft but they did not pass that information onto the 32 teams and their owners. Why? I think thats pretty obvious.

        Sam just made it even harder on himself, gooooodluck

      • Pipercat

        Yes about the Rams and again, I’ve been saying that all along. As for the rest maybe, perhaps or not. Why the NFL knew and didn’t pass it along is still speculation regardless of concluded certainty.

        Bottom line, there will be no cameras, no distraction and no show for OWN.

        The rest is Saturday evening quarterbacking because the season hasn’t started.

      • Bine646

        The season has started, minicamps have begun. For some fans the season started last week with NFL draft. For others it started with the NFL combine months ago.

        On Sundays Sam will be under the microscope for how well he performs- just like the 51 other players on his team. NFL career avgs 3.5 yrs but could be less for lineman who engage in contact on every down. Sam better turn his focus to getting down his blocking schemes not Oprah.

      • Pipercat

        That’s just being argumentative. If Sam has a good camp, good preseason and make the team then viola!

        Oprah, is no longer a part of the equation.

        It’s all up to him now..

      • Bine646

        Definition of hypocrite- a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. (webster).

        Sam stated he wanted to be like every other player and treated that way.

        Then he tries to bring in his production crew to film his experience. So by definition he is a hypocrite. I am sorry

      • Pipercat

        Then why didn’t you say that in the first place instead of going into this Gish Gallop? That is a fair point. Regardless, he was drafted and now it’s no longer an issue. The thing that stuck with me was the numerous mention of his agents. Whose bright idea it was to do this and who instigated the offer of this remains unclear.

        I said this in my original comment:

        ” Until we find out who reached out to whom, the application of hypocrisy must be tabled”

        Moreover, the NFL new about this before hand.

        I still stand by that. I never said it wasn’t hypocritical, I said all notions of hypocrisy must be tabled until all of the facts come in. At this point, we may never know.

      • Bine646

        I think that was the reason Clifton wrote this article, to show how hypocritical it was of Sam to pull this stunt

  • Nathan Paul

    You know we have rights because people stood up and came together. We come out publicly to show the world we are not the monsters they fear. There has never been an actual behind the scenes of the homophobia in sports….though we all know it exists. If his wish to change the sport by laying it bare for all to see is so hypocritical……….then I support that hypocrisy. In the fight for civil rights it isn’t about a single individual….it is about the accumulation of all individuals….and their stories. Without Rosa Parks there would be no bus boycott….was she a hypocrite for being arrested, starting a boycott and effectively changing the course for all to follow behind her? Or is this being upset at the effort involved to raise awareness, change a situation….and have a platform to do so on a global level?

  • ARGates

    I think you are mistaken. Without having talked to the guy, I can only guess at his motives – but I would guess that you are way off base.

    First if all, this is the age of reality t.v. Between Big Brother, Keeping up with the Kardashians, and The Biggest Loser, everybody of a certain age seems to be hoping that someone will follow them around with a camera. Secondly, he may be a bit more subtle than we know. It is quite possible that just like the reality program about Muslims in Deerborn Michigan, he plans to bore the poop out of everyone with his “normalness,” and get canceled due to lack of viewers. Thus, promoting the gay “agenda” of just living their lives, like everyone else.

  • boo

    He will be gone before sept 14

  • King

    I get what you are saying but I agree with some of the other people who have commented. I think you need to cut him some slack for youth and perhaps being unprepared for the attention he has received.

  • felipe63

    Sounds to me like he is taking advantage of the opportunities being afforded him while he has his 15 minutes of fame. Yeah he said something that was idealistic, then has done something that seems the opposite, but here is the thing, Michael Sams’ flip flop is not of national importance, not even close, in the great scheme of things it’s pretty damn inconsequential.

    If we going to talk about people who say one thing then act in a way that 180 degrees outta phase with what they said, let’s talk about Obama’s promises of govt transparency & whistleblower protection vs the reality of his DoJ fiercely prosecuting whistleblowers and how the govt has become more opaque during this administration.

    Those issues actually affect the country, Michael Sams is just a distraction that has next zero impact on the nation. Have you written an article on Obama’s hypocrisy?

    Priorities dude, priorities……….

  • Kimberly

    You say your supportive, but that isn’t true!
    How he got to where he is, isn’t about being Gay! I am a Gay person and my life story is 95% not a gay story. It’s a small part of a huge life story.
    So please don’t delude yourself and think you are supportive, you are only to a point and that my friend is Not Support!

  • vicmar75

    The show was in process BEFORE he got drafted. there was NO guarantee he would even BE drafted. Many aren’t. The show was then postponed. He’s young, he’ll learn.

    • Bine646

      If he wasnt drafted then how could they do a reality show on his journey into the NFL?

      • ta2t2o

        Because they took a chance. Part of the story could be his reaction if he wasn’t drafted. It’s a human interest story. It’s no different than HBO doing the series following teams through the season. It’s no different than the black cub reporter who was assigned to Jackie Robinson to cover his story.

        Just like Robinson, he just wants to be treated like just another ball player. I think he’s sincere in that. However, just like Robinson, he won’t get treated like just another ball player. You, this author of this article,mand every other NFL fan, gay person, and homophobe are going to be watching his career to see how he is treated, if he makes the team, and how he plays. Some, like they did with Robinson, will be looking for him to fail and to use this as a benchmark (wrongly) with which to judge gays in Pro Sports. Also, like Robinson, an entire minority group will be looking to him to carry their dreams of equality and equal access without being judged by their sexuality,but rather their capability.

        Michael Sam, as much as he would hope otherwise, is not just another ball player. Hopefully though, because of him -as with Jackie Robinson, in 10 years from now, drafting a gay collegian WILL then be just like drafting any other player.

      • Bine646

        The HBO series Hardknocks is a series about the football team as a whole- not one individual player. It is also produced by NFL Films along with HBO. Anyone who follows the NFL knows that this league protects its “product”. We hear this time and time again. The NFL controls all production and everything else associated with its name.

        Sam isnt “any other player” but that is how he sold himself. That is how he presented in the beginning and then (atleast) behind the NFLs back tried to hide the production of reality series- not a good start for a team who doesnt need anymore distractions- they need wins. Which is what the NFL is all about- winning. Why they are paid millions of dollars- to play football and win. Not make TV series to take away from focusing, studying, training and performing

  • Roxanne Agredano

    I 100% agree. Your article is the first I’ve heard of this and though iwas very moved by his being drafted and the emotions therein. Happy that the team embraced him as a part of the team family,. hearing this, Oprah, reality show. UGH. He is young, as a person commented but he gets no slack for this. One can be a hypocrite at any age and that is precisely what his actions have demonstrated.

  • Rob

    He would have NEVER held a press conference to announce his sexual orientation if it were true. It was always about life without football cuz he wont be in the NFL.

  • Tom

    Mr. Clifton, I’m “Absolutly Dissappointed” that you didn’t have the courage or self-confidence to Reference A Single One of the accusations you throw about Sam and “Reality Show”. Or is you saying “then I heard” all the corrobation that we need?

  • Donald Blum

    He realized a mistake and corrected it before he became a hypocrite.

  • LogicLily

    Don’t see it as hypocrisy. He is young with no guarantee of his career going much farther. He will get paid while doing a show. If the kardashians can get a reality show for doing nothing, he is just fine for getting one for doing something.

    • Bine646

      Bc its a distraction from football. He should be concentrating on learning a new system, conditioning, etc. Not a reality tvshow

    • TechManMike

      You don’t see it as hypocrisy because you’re choosing to turn a blind eye to it because he’s gay. But his actions are the textbook definition of hypocrisy. The author is correct, if he wants to be known as a gay football player then all he needs to do is be honest about that instead of saying one thing then doing another. Nobody is saying that the guy can’t make money and have his own interests in his fiscal future.

  • swan4568 .

    I agree with your article, he said he wanted to be treated like just another player, but IDK how many 7th Round draft picks would get all of these cameras and documentaries about him. If he wants to be just like the others, don’t do the interviews and the docs. And just make your statement on the field like the others.

  • Mark McRoberts

    Sir if he fails to make the team then he is going to at least have the income from the reality show. I don’t blame him for following the recommendations of his agent and publicity team. He is young and he needs the exposure. I’m happy for him.

  • Sandy Greer

    And the point of calling somebody a Hypocrite is…WHAT…exactly?

    Pointing fingers, while professing support, is hypocritical.

    • TechManMike

      So in order to support someone a person must support EVERYTHING that person does? Before Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder he had a lot of fans that supported him, is it hypocritical of those fans to point fingers? Especially if he’s found guilty? And let me just put this out there before you try to not answer my question; I’m not comparing being a murderer to being a homosexual. I’m simply using the stories as an example to argue your point that a person can’t be a supporter while also being critical of things.

  • Drew

    To be honest, the only reason he WAS a 7th round pick is because he is gay. So the statement about him only being a 7th round pick doesn’t fly. Would it matter if he was a 1st rounder doing a documentary? Players in the NFL use their brand all the time to make extra money through commercials and corporate deals. Why should Michael Sam be any different just because his brand happens to have interest from a network to tell his story? That’s the real hypocrisy here.

    • TechManMike

      First of all he’s not an NFL player, he’s an NFL draftee at this point. So already I can tell you don’t know enough about the NFL to make the claims you’re making. Second, the difference is that Michael Sam specifically said he didn’t want to be known as a gay football player, only a football player. Then he strikes a deal for a documentary focusing on him being a homosexual football player. This is not about NFL players being able to build their own brand through endorsements and Michael Sam not being able to. There’s no double standard going on. This is solely about him saying he wanted to focus on football and not draw attention to his homosexuality, then agreeing to do a documentary for the purpose of exploiting his homosexuality and how it pertains to being a football player. He’s facing this criticism because of his own hypocrisy, not because of anybody else.

  • Mel

    I agree with you in general Allen. That said, there could actually be some value to following this story, 7th round pick or not. It is opportunistic and calculating on someone, perhaps Sam’s part. What’s more concerning is Oprah’s complicity in this.

  • Shauna France Boggs

    First off I find it amusing that you point out his position chosen in the draft because I would like to know what other SEC defensive player of the Year went so late. Do you not think it has to do with the fact that he’s openly gay? Secondly if Oprah Winfrey comes to you saying she wants to do a show tell me you wouldn’t jump at the chance! Lastly it is those of you in the media that have chosen to make this about his sexuality not him. Leave the man alone for Christ sake!

    • JF32

      Please know something about football before you make an ignorant observation. There have been Heisman Trophy winners who weren’t drafted. Did you know that? Did you know the Big 12 defensive player of the year was not drafted? Obviously not. College performance is not necessarily a prediction of NFL. Look at the guys who bust and all the guys who come out of nowhere. The bottom line about Michael Sam the football player is he is not strong and and big enough to play the position he played in college. Add to that he performed very poorly at the combine. To be success, he would probably need to move to LB, and he has not shown the athleticism need to play LB at the NFL. Teams don’t want distractions. They tolerate them if the player is indispensable. Look at Tebow. He caused a massive media storm to any team he went to by virtue of being Tebow, and when it became apparent that what he did on the field did not justify his distraction, he was cut. No one will sign him now. He has the ability, albeit not a QB and maybe just a backup/situational player, to be a NFL player. Michael Sam’s opportunity to make the Rams is as a special team player and situational pass rusher. Those type players don’t justify the distractions a reality show would bring. Michael Sam was drafted on his ability. He was a 7th round pick because of the his ability. His ability will be judge of whether or not he makes the team.

    • TechManMike

      Ignorance about the massive difference between College Football and the NFL is your problem, not this article.

  • carol d

    I 100% agree with you. I disagree with those saying a 21 yr old can’t make logical decisions. Give me a break. He purposefully held the information back from the NFL so that it wouldn’t hurt his chances to be picked. He is a hypocrite through and through.

  • David Fitzpatrick

    I agree completely. I want to root for Sam, but everything he does seems calculated to draw as much attention as possible. You’d think a Kardashian had been drafted to the NFL.

  • Aubrey Denver

    I feel like, in a fiscal sense, he’s acting better than most professional athletes. He’s making moves to insure financial security before & are football. Is he being an exploitive hypocrite? Perhaps. But, what shrewd businessman isn’t. At least he’s not doing it at the expense of others….yet.

  • Fayemarie Anderson Carter

    This falls into the category “Who cares?”

  • This smacks of typical Oprah to me. I admire her accomplishments, but I think she’s a bit of an opportunist and I think she sucked him into this.

  • Hwo Wright

    I find your article Hypocritical as well as some of the comments on here ! What he is doing is making it easier in the future for all gay football players ! That’s honorable NOT hypocritical ! You can all say what you want but you know damn well if Oprah Winfrey calls …….You ……ANSWER! Anyone who says otherwise ….Yea your lying

    • Bine646

      Is he getting paid millions to “make it easier for all gay players” or are the Rams paying him millions to play football?

      How would a film crew following you around 24/7 not be a distraction? Not only for the rookie who is learning a new system but also the rest of the team trying to focus on winning a superbowl?

    • TechManMike

      The Potential value of the documentary has no bearing on whether or not he’s a hypocrite. He specifically said that he wanted to be known as a football player, period, not a gay football player. Then he purposely does something to draw attention on him being a gay football player. That makes him a hypocrite. So regardless of whether you think it will help people or not doesn’t make him less of a hypocrite because his own actions do not conform to his words.

      All the author is saying is that if he does indeed want to be known as a gay football player then he should stop saying differently with his words so that he will not be a hypocrite. Stop making excuses.

  • John McCready

    LGBTers have, and continue to, marginalize themselves by making their sexual orientation the end all and be all of their identity. Michael Sam is no different. THAT much was proved when he felt he had to tell the world he was gay (WHY did his sexual orientation matter?). If LGBTers want to be treated “the same”, then they really need to STFU about announcing their sexual orientation as the end all, and be all of their identity! Until THAT DAY comes, their hypocrisy of being seen as a “gay person” (and therefore DIFFERENT!) first, and whatever else they want acknowledgement as, will never cease! P.S. There is NO SUCH THING AS “gay rights”! There is not one right that is SO EXCLUSIVE TO GAY PEOPLE that it deserves to be called a “gay right”! PLEASE! Commentators need to really STFU on that little phrase!