How Do You Feel About Michael Sam?
I don’t want to be writing about this. I wish that this wasn’t a news story. I wish every sports talk and news show wasn’t debating this or picking this story apart from every angle. It should be a non-story, no big deal and hopefully some day it will, but today Michael Sam’ declaration that he is gay is a huge story.
Sam was the co-SEC Defensive player of the year last year. The Missouri DE led the conference in sacks and tackles for a loss. He is currently projected to be a third round draft pick, which would make him the first openly gay, active football player. The fact that gay people have to declare their sexuality or come out of the closet disgusts me. Why don’t we make everyone declare their sexual preference? I’ve never been made to tell anyone, “I’m heterosexual and want to have sex with a lot of women.” I’ll write an entire article about it, but no one is making me do it.
The reaction to this news has been mixed. Many people are proud of Sam for being brave and having the courage to come out in a macho, male dominated league. And especially for having the guts to be the first gay football player to do so. Again, I agree with this sentiment, but the fact that it has to be such an intimidating ordeal just shows how much further we have to go.
Progress, substantial progress in social matters, can only be made once older generations die off. It is morbid, but true. The older generations cling to its beliefs, scared to let the world change in any significant way from the world they remember. It is certainly not all older people who are bigoted in their beliefs, but it is enough that we need them to die off in order make the social changes necessary to have a more inclusive society. I know it sounds a bit morbid, but these people have had plenty of chances to change, but are too stubborn or lack the fortitude to do so.
We want social change to happen quickly because it is painful to watch groups of people be ostracized for such petty and misguided reasons, but once a thought like, “gay people are an abomination and an attack on the union of marriage” is engrained in someone’s head there is no getting it out.
It doesn’t matter that heterosexual couples have a coin flip success rate at marriage and divorce fractures families that they are so worried gay people will ruin. Forget the fact that more marriages and weddings circulate more money into the “free market” these same people typically love so much. Even the religious defenses of marriage seem to be forgetting that God sent his only son to be sacrificed in order save our sins, which occurred due to misinterpretation of Old Testament readings. What was the new message that Jesus brought with him, “Do onto others as you would have done onto you. Unless you’re homosexual or not white.”
I kid about the second part, but honestly sometimes it feels like I missed it in the Bible somewhere cause that is how it seems to be interpreted these days. If you believe in Jesus, then by denying gay people the right to marry or be treated like normal human beings, I guess that means that is how we should all be treated. Let’s just get rid of marriage all together. Or maybe, the infallible God went through all the trouble of impregnating a woman with his only in order to have him brutally tortured and left to die on a cross, for the laughs.
The responses of NFL executives have been very telling, most would fit into the older generation clinging to prejudice beliefs. They’ve talked about the media circus that Sam will bring and how they are afraid of how players will react in the locker room. They do not want to fracture the locker room. Bullshit! The truth is that a bunch of old white men are uncomfortable with a young, black gay man being on their team. Instead of admitting or owning their prejudice they choose to deflect blame onto others.
It reminds me of a Dave Chappelle interview where he discussed racism in the South. He said that he was much more scared of being in a New York City board room, then anywhere in the South. The reason was that in the South, they are very open and honest about their racism. They let you know exactly where they stand and it is easy to move on from there. While in these bigger, northern cities racism is much more deceptive. People will portray themselves as progressive or comfortable with being around or working with black people, but then their actions will demonstrate their true feelings. They’ll find excuses to not hire black people or hold them from getting promotions that they’ve earned.
The same applies for gay people. The NFL will portray itself as a progressive league, but the actions it takes with Michael Sam will demonstrate its true feelings. The early indication, based off response, does not look good.
I hope I’m wrong that I’m just being a cynical bastard and the world has changed enough to fully embrace a gay football player. I know that I would love to have Sam drafted by the Chicago Bears because we could use a tenacious pass rusher with a high motor. And that is what he is.
Sam stated that he does not want to become an advocate, and he doesn’t have to. Simply being a football player is the best thing he could do for homosexuals. He is just a man who happens to be attracted to other men. However, there will be some people who just will not be comfortable with it and continue to treat homosexuals as inferior.
For all those people, I have a proposal. If homosexuals have to continue to come out of “the closet” in order for you to know exactly whom they are, then in turn all homophobes should be forced to announce themselves as such on national TV. No more hiding being these guises of being a nice, welcoming people and fully admit to being the scum of the earth that you are.
Continue to cling to your prejudice, ignorant, twisted beliefs. Just know, as you take your final breath that it was all for not. You will die and the world will finally be able to progress forward, becoming a better society in the process. History will then look upon you the same way as slave owners, McCarthyism, and Jim Crow laws: racist, ignorant, dick bags.
How do you feel about Michael Sam now?