Michael Sam is the first openly gay athlete to be drafted by the NFL. It was big news across the globe, with the young man being congratulated by the likes of NFL greats, peers, and even President Obama.
In early February, Michael announced to the world he was gay after finishing his senior year at University of Missouri. It came as a shock to many with people saying how courageous he was. Others said he hurt his draft stock by coming out right before the NFL combine. (College players trying out for NFL teams)
Regardless of the stance from the majority, seemingly the biggest issue was something complete asinine: how would other NFL players feel about showering with a gay man.
Not, how he would fare against talent bigger or stronger than him, not how many teams might pass him over because he’s undersized but instead, how players would react to having him in the shower or the locker room.
Once again, people show their ignorance with comments regarding his character and behavior because he is gay. As if he’d be some kind of animal trying to go after NFL players and make them all gay like him. Or worse yet, he’d try to do things to them in the shower.
Despite all this, Sam was able to get through the combine and get drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round over the weekend. ESPN showed his emotional reaction as well as the celebratory kisses he shared with his boyfriend Vito. Again, the stupidity came from many who said ESPN shouldn’t have shown it or how gross it was to see two men kissing on national TV but kudos to ESPN for not discriminating against Sam or his man, enjoying the news with his loved ones.
To me, Michael Sam is not only a hero in the gay community but also in the black community. He stood up for himself and didn’t hide from anyone despite the adversity. In my opinion he can be a positive example for all gay youths to follow your dreams and don’t allow the naysayers to get you down.
Sam’s test isn’t over though. He still has to make the Rams team but regardless of what happens, he will always be known as the first openly gay player to be drafted in American major league sports.