Michael Sam, the NFL, Homosexuality and the Ignorance of Those Saying He Won’t be Accepted

michael-sam1By now most people have probably heard about NFL prospect and ex-Missouri football player Michael Sam, who publicly declared the fact that he’s a proud gay man.  This made news because Sam is projected to be drafted in May’s NFL draft where he would then become the NFL’s first openly gay athlete.

This, of course, has been met with ignorance from all sides.

The general debate seems to be, “How will the NFL handle an openly gay athlete inside the locker room?”

Seriously?  I get why people are asking this question, and I’m sure some will have a problem with it, but do people really believe that having an openly gay NFL player will somehow destroy a locker room from within?

This is a league which has operated just fine with athletes who’ve been accused of murder, sexual assault, domestic abuse, countless DUI’s, aggravated assaults and other various crimes.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing being a homosexual to being an accused criminal (or even convicted in some instances).  I’m simply stating that a league which has tolerated criminal activity, I think should be just fine with openly gay athletes.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves – there are gay athletes in the NFL right now.  While they might not be “publicly gay” – yet – they’re still there.  If some decide to come out publicly, do they then suddenly become less effective football players?

In fact, those who believe Sam won’t be accepted while they’ve cheered on – or played alongside – convicted criminals, only showcase their hypocrisy and ignorance.  I’m sorry but if you accept someone who “settled” a sexual assault lawsuit (meaning they weren’t exactly found innocent of the alleged crime) yet shun someone because they happen to be gay, you’re pathetic.

Besides, this is a stupid question to begin with, because we already have the answer to whether or not an openly gay football player can be accepted inside of a locker room.

Look no further than the University of Missouri.  Michael Sam being gay wasn’t “breaking news” for the Missouri football team.  He came out to his team last August, before the season even began.

And what happened after that?

Well, the University of Missouri football team had one of their best seasons in school history, defeated Oklahoma State to win the Cotton Bowl and finished the season ranked anywhere between #5 and #6 in final polls.

Oh, and Michael Sam won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award.

So it seems that his being openly gay didn’t have any kind of negative impact on the football team.  Heck, if you want to say anything about him coming out having an impact on performance, it seems that unloading the burden of having to be secretive about who he really is actually propelled him to be more successful than before.

And if a bunch of 18-23 year old college football players can deal with an openly gay athlete in their locker room, I’m confident a bunch of grown men should do just fine.

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.


Facebook comments

  • Jim Bean

    If an openly heterosexual NFL candidate demanded, as part of his contract, that he be allowed to shower with the cheerleaders, the wishes of cheerleaders would supersede the wishes of the candidate. There is no intelligent reason to depart from this line of reasoning with regard to Michael Sam or to cast any more dispersion upon them (heterosexual athletes) if they reject him than you would cast upon the cheerleaders. That’s an apples to apples analogy.

    • Sandy Greer

      Here we have a (closeted) gay male who already showered day in, day out, month after month, after month, with straight males…to no one’s discomfort…and NOW we’re gonna worry that…what???

      That the openly gay male would be OGLING those straight guys???


      Just EXACTLY goes to show how far we’ve still got to go to get rid of our fears of the ‘other’ who is different from us.

      • Jim Bean

        If I were showering with NFL cheerleaders, I would be ogling them. How’s it different with gays? And you speaking to it is akin to me speaking about how it feels to be pregnant.

      • Sandy Greer

        Really? You would ogle women who are not attracted to you?

        Careful not to share that with the ladies in your life. Some women find that ‘creepy’.

        I guess it never occurred to you gay males are attracted to other gay males, rather than straight ones. And that some folks actually exercise self-control in their ‘ogling’.

        You’re projecting your own willingness to engage in creepy behavior onto others.

      • Jim Bean

        And you’re projecting a level of authority on, and intimate knowledge of, the subject which I seriously doubt is inherent in your credentials.

      • Artos

        no she has a point your a creeper

      • Jim Bean

        Irreversible truth: Homosexuality it outside the parameters of human biology and no efforts to move the parameters will succeed. If that frustrates you, expect to die frustrated.

      • Artos

        more confused with your statement lol seriously creeper loosen up and get off you high horse

      • Jim Bean

        Mine was a pragmatic comment.

      • Sandy Greer

        I think the frustration lays in knowing our country is inexorably moving beyond Bigotry, Fear, and Hate.

        Some feel like they’re losing ground; their ‘values’ are espoused by only those like themselves; they are fast being left in the dust.

        Truth is: The Times, They Are a-Changin’…

        And it’s frustrating, to those being left behind. Pity.

      • Jim Bean

        You’re simple-mindedly using the term ‘hate’ to describe the feelings of anyone who isn’t feeling ‘love’ for something. There ARE things in between but acknowledging them would deprive you of that sense of moral superiority and that’s the reason your engaging in this conversation, is it not?

      • Ray Kawamura

        What you’re displaying in your posts is ambivalence, which is a magnitude worse than hatred. That you can easily write off a whole section of the population as unnatural, and disregardable is bordering on Sociopathy, if not completely crossing the line. You’re no better than slave owners 200 years ago thinking of black slaves as less than human. Slave owners tended to look upon their slaves as either animals, or unnatural. You may not have come out directly and said as much, but the things you have said kind of resonate as this.

      • Jim Bean

        I am not writing them off as anything nor do I hate them. If I had said “Pedophilia is outside the parameters of human biology and no efforts to move the parameters will succeed,” would you not agree with me?

      • Come on, Jim. That’s absolute nonsense and you know it. There have been homosexual people throughout history, and homosexual animals for that matter. As a society, we’ve finally grown more civilized and accepting of them, just like with interracial marriage (although given the recent kerfluffle over the biracial couple in the Cheerios commercial, obviously there’s more work to be done on that front as well).
        It doesn’t matter if the physical parts don’t match up, and it doesn’t matter if gay couples can’t naturally reproduce. They do so anyway, either through adoption, sperm donation and/or surrogates, and their families are the same as anyone else’s. Heterosexual people also have anal and oral sex, and reproduce in the same manner if one of the parties is infertile.
        All that matters is who people are attracted to and love. The fact that you keep bringing up this specious argument is stupid, and you need to get over it.

      • Jim Bean

        There also exists, and we accept, people born with down’s syndrome, spina bifida, mental handicaps, etc. That doesn’t mean we regard these things as having any socially redeeming qualities. And if you’re are brave enough approach the subject of Aids, Hepatitis, all sexually transmitted diseases, and anal cancer rates, you’ll discover some very practical social reasons to at least refrain from promoting certain behaviors. And if we were a responsible society, we would be protecting our children by actively discourage various forms of ‘sexual experimentation’. According to a study sanctioned by the CDC in 2002, HIV alone was costing us all 34.6 billion dollars. When you strip away the dozens of layers of lipstick that have been applied you’ll find this is not exactly a thing of beauty.

      • Are any of those diseases you mentioned exclusive to homosexuals?

        Obviously not. In fact, most AIDS cases in Africa are from heterosexual contact. If I remember correctly, Farrah Fawcett (as far as I know, not a lesbian) died from anal cancer.

        Instead of trying to restrain people’s sexuality, why not encourage and make condoms freely available, and make it socially unacceptable not to use them, just as it is becoming socially unacceptable to smoke?

        Really, your compassion is breathtaking.

      • Jim Bean

        My compassion has nothing to do with this. Compassion is an emotion and anyone who lets his emotion prevent him from looking at things from a pragmatic perspective is making a self-destructive mistake. The man who beats his wife acting on emotion.
        7 days ago the CDC announced (in part and pertaining only to the USA) “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM))a represent approximately 2% of the United States population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2010, young MSM (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72% of new HIV infections among all persons aged 13 to 24, and 30% of new infections among all MSM. At the end of 2010, an estimated 489,121 (56%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States were MSM or MSM-IDU.”
        The free condom idea seems logical and would go along way toward diffusing the abortion epidemic as well. But condoms are cheap. What would make people who can buy them and won’t use them if they are free? And why are we making such a heroic effort to endorse a destructive behavior that 98% of Americans decline to participate in?

      • Because they’re human beings too, and they deserve the same amount of consideration as anyone else, no matter their sexual orientation? Also because increased condom usage would benefit everybody? Along the same lines, I remember reading a study (I’m at work and have no time to look for it at the moment) which showed that long-acting and other contraceptives provided free of charge to poor women reduced the unintended pregnancy rate tremendously. A good national advertising campaign, perhaps from the Centers for Disease Control, would go a long way toward bringing condom usage into the public consciousness.
        Also, as a heterosexual, I don’t “decline” to participate in what is NOT a destructive behavior, but rather a natural one, for those who are attracted to the same sex. I simply am not attracted to women, and therefore have no desire to seek out female sexual partners. Likewise, a lesbian would have no desire to seek out male sexual partners. There is no “declining” involved.
        As far as your statistics go, my immediate response is “so what?” Those people still deserve the same consideration as heterosexuals with HIV.

        Your worldview is just skewed, I’m sorry to say. I could not live like that. Not being concerned about my fellow human beings, gay or straight? No thank you.

      • Jim Bean

        I’m unable to identify what I said that made you think I wasn’t concerned(?)

      • Charles Vincent

        “and homosexual animals for that matter.”
        Citation please.

      • Ray Kawamura

        How about all of the biological sciences. That a big enough citation for you?

      • Charles Vincent

        That isn’t a citation where is the link to the article(s), nor is it conclusive that its wide spread as BB-Mystic is purporting.

    • tina rowling

      that’s not even a realistic example. you’re really stretching with that one.

  • Penny Graham

    PS – You forgot animal murderers. It’s okay to torture and kill innocent dogs and still be accepted in the NFL The only that is going to change in the NFL is that one of the gay players will be ‘openly gay’. I’d rather hand out with Michael Sam any day over Michael Vick.