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Thread: Missouri DE Michael Sam: "I am an openly, proud gay man"

          
   
   
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    Missouri DE Michael Sam: "I am an openly, proud gay man"

    Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri Tigers and the Associated Press' SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay in interviews with ESPN's "Outside the Lines" and the New York Times on Sunday.

    Sam stated publicly what his teammates and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: "I am an openly, proud gay man."

    Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May. Assuming that he is drafted, Sam could become the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.

    Defensive end Michael Sam says he told his Missouri teammates in August that he was gay and they "rallied around me and supported me."
    "I understand how big this is," he said. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."

    In 2014, "Gay Man to Enter Workforce" has the everyday-occurrence sound of a headline in The Onion. But when the NFL is involved, it's a first -- and potentially a landmark moment -- in the history of American sports.

    Sam's decision to speak out now comes after his experience two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, where, he said, many already seemed aware of his sexual orientation.

    "I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he said. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me."

    He had already confided in a few close friends, Sam recalled, and had dated a fellow athlete who was not a football player -- so while coming out to his Mizzou teammates last year was a key moment, it came almost as an afterthought, during preseason training camp.

    "Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we're from, and something that no one knows about you," Sam said. "And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, 'Michael Sam finally told us.' "

    Asked what that moment felt like, Sam said, "I was kind of scared, even though they already knew. Just to see their reaction was awesome. They supported me from Day One. I couldn't have better teammates. ... I'm telling you what: I wouldn't have the strength to do this today if I didn't know how much support they'd given me this past semester."

    He did not ask them to keep his revelation a secret.

    Raised in the small town of Hitchcock, Texas, Sam said he grew up uncertain about what his sexual orientation was.

    "I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys," he said, "I didn't know if it was a phase ... I didn't want to say, 'Hey, I might be gay. I might be bi.' I just didn't know ... I wanted to find who I was and make sure I knew what was comfortable. So I didn't tell anyone growing up."

    It was an upbringing, he said, filled with adversity.

    "I endured so much in my past: seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound, not knowing that my oldest sister died when she was a baby and I never got the chance to meet her. My second oldest brother went missing in 1998, and me and my little sister were the last ones to see him ... my other two brothers have been in and out of jail since 8th grade, currently both in jail.

    "Telling the world I'm gay is nothing compared to that."

    Sam had dinner on Saturday with Dave Kopay, a former NFL player who said he was gay in 1975 -- three years after his playing career ended.

    Among other pro athletes who have said they are gay, Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran, came out in a Sports Illustrated article at the end of the 2012-13 regular season, but has not played for a team since. Midfielder Robbie Rogers became first openly gay male athlete to play in a U.S. professional team sports league when he entered a MLS game in May 2013.

    Conner Mertens, a kicker for Willamette University, last month became the first active college football player in the U.S. to come out publicly.

    Sam said that he realizes his revelation may engender a variety of reactions in the football world. "There will be negativity, negative reactions," he said. "I expect that. ... Everyone can say hurtful things and hateful things; I don't let stuff like that distract me. But there are going to be positives. The positives will outweigh the negative."

    Sam led the SEC with 11.5 sacks, and 19 tackles for a loss. Most NFL draft projections see him as a likely mid-round pick, with some saying Sam could go as high as the third round, with a possible position switch to outside linebacker. He is rated as the 12th-best outside pass rusher in the draft by ESPN Scouts Inc.

    "I just want to go to the team who drafts me," he said, "because that team knows about me, knows that I'm gay, and also knows that I work hard. That's the team I want to go to."

    Sam said that despite some comments from current players, he doesn't anticipate difficulty gaining acceptance in an NFL locker room.

    "Hopefully it will be the same like my locker room," he said. "It's a workplace. if you've ever been in a Division I or pro locker room, it's a business place. You want to act professional."

    Sam rejects the appalling slanders that sometimes have been hurled at gay men.

    "I mean, people will talk about the stereotype of gays being in the locker room ... to me, I think that it's a little stereotyped that gay people are predators. It's just very offensive."

    Other such negative stereotypes seem too absurd for him even to consider.

    "If you led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for losses?" he said, laughing. "If a gay person did that, I wouldn't call that person weak."

    Just last week, he said, he came out to his parents, during a phone call.

    "I told my mom and dad last week, and they just pretty much said, 'We knew and we love you and support you,' " he said. "I'm their baby boy. I'm the first to go to college. I'm the first to graduate college. Something like this is just another milestone.

    "And I love my hometown. I think when this story breaks, I think they're just going to love me even more for who I am."

    Sam understands that his life is about to change forever; he said he is happy and proud to be speaking out at last.

    "I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam: I'm a college graduate. I'm African American, and I'm gay," he said. "I'm comfortable in my skin."
    http://m.espn.go.com/general/story?s...30&src=desktop

    Good for him. Extremely courageous of him to come out publicly, especially before he gets drafted.

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    Veteran TarlsQtr's Avatar
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    To me, this story is a nothingburger. I do not care one bit and wish making a big deal of this stuff would go away. The guy deserves respect just like anyone else, no more or less. Unfortunately, in an attempt by the press to do a hagiography, he will never be known as NFL player Michael Sam. He will be known as "first outwardly gay NFL player Michael Sam." IMO, that is as bad as bashing the guy for being gay.
    "If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler." -Jack Lambert

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    Quote Originally Posted by TarlsQtr View Post
    To me, this story is a nothingburger. I do not care one bit and wish making a big deal of this stuff would go away. The guy deserves respect just like anyone else, no more or less. Unfortunately, in an attempt by the press to do a hagiography, he will never be known as NFL player Michael Sam. He will be known as "first outwardly gay NFL player Michael Sam." IMO, that is as bad as bashing the guy for being gay.
    We live in a society where how a human being deserves to be treated and how society actually treats them is not even remotely aligned. To toss this away as a nothingburger, only highlights how ignorant society is.

    And your last statement is atrociously ignorant...
    So, you think Jackie Robinson being known as the first African American baseball player, was just as bad as the racism with which he was subjected to?

    I wish making a big deal of this stuff would go away too... I wish we lived in a society that truly believed in equality. But we don't live in that society. And until we do, these struggles need to be highlighted to make progress. To dismiss them, is to hide from the reality.
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    Veteran TarlsQtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilPatrickBanana View Post
    We live in a society where how a human being deserves to be treated and how society actually treats them is not even remotely aligned. To toss this away as a nothingburger, only highlights how ignorant society is.
    People go through disrespect every day. Fat people get disrespected. If you belong to the wrong political party (depending who you happen to be with) you are disrespected. Race, ethnicity, religion, even what region you come from. People are jerks. Short of death threats and/or violence (crimes), get over it.

    Let's look at the kid from OK State. Because he is black, the first thing the media did to circle the wagons around Smart (with the usual caveat that he should not have pushed the fan) is to publish and accept as truth his claim that the fan used the "N word." Even AFTER it became clear that no fans, security, or photogs heard a racial slur. (We will never know for 100 percent certainty, but the evidence sure points to the fan being correct.) Yet I hear during the SU game last night a commentator say that "Even IF he did not use a slur, he HAD to know that a "white man" calling a "black man" who is lying on the floor a piece of crap is incredibly racist."

    That is BS. Calling ANYONE lying on the floor a piece of crap is wrong. His race was (and is) meaningless. You fill an arena with 20,000 people and you are going to have some idiots. End of story. Smart was 100 percent wrong. By playing the race (or gay) angle of every story, we just keep perpetuating this nonsense. Smart gets a fig leaf of cover and Orr gets labeled a racist for life regardless of whether he is or not.

    And your last statement is atrociously ignorant...
    So, you think Jackie Robinson being known as the first African American baseball player, was just as bad as the racism with which he was subjected to?
    I think Jackie Robinson is a terrible analogy. The guy was getting death threats. Many players hated him. Much of the press hated him. He would have stuff thrown at him. With the exception of a few knuckleheads who will call Sam a "fa6" or other such nonsense, he will be idolized by the media and fans. We have come a million miles since JR. Unfortunately though, every instance will be publicized, which will perpetuate the nonsense.

    I wish making a big deal of this stuff would go away too... I wish we lived in a society that truly believed in equality. But we don't live in that society. And until we do, these struggles need to be highlighted to make progress. To dismiss them, is to hide from the reality.
    Truthfully, I sincerely disagree. By and large, we do live in such a society. Look again at Smart. Those that would use the N word toward him are few. In an arena of roughly 20,000 only one did even if we believe his story which seems discredited. Both Smart and Sam will grow to be rich men. Rather than being irrationally criticized for race/sexual orientation, both will be watched and idolized by millions. I just prefer to watch and appreciate them because of what they do on the court or field rather than genetic chance or who they spend time with off the field.
    "If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler." -Jack Lambert

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    There are gay people who come out everyday. The kid obviously came out due to scouts knowing and hitting the media airwaves before he got to say anything, causing a distraction, maybe hurting his draft stock.

    Don't worry, if he doesn't pan out in the NFL, someone will write a book for him. Still make millions.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Such a non-story and just like when the NBA player coming out....People compared that to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB which was really an injustice to what Jackie Robinson went through....Jackie received death threats and received the worst taunts by managers, players, and fans but these gay athletes will have overwhelming support....Of course you will always have people that are anti-gay but these gay athletes won't come close to going through what Jackie went through....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black@Gold Forever32 View Post
    Such a non-story and just like when the NBA player coming out....People compared that to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB which was really an injustice to what Jackie Robinson went through....Jackie received death threats and received the worst taunts by managers, players, and fans but these gay athletes will have overwhelming support....Of course you will always have people that are anti-gay but these gay athletes won't come close to going through what Jackie went through....
    So, your argument against comparing the first Black player in Baseball to the first openly Gay Athlete in a major american sport.... is that the Black person was subjected to WORSE bigotry than the Gay person will be subjected to? That's really your argument to why this isn't a big deal? A Non Story? Really, a non story???

    "I don't think football is ready for it 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. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It'd chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room."


    yea, sounds like it'll be smooth sailing for Sam..

    Hey, how many rounds will he fall because of this?
    How many teams will not draft him entirely because he's gay?

    It's a big deal because it's a first step in a process.
    It's a big deal because it will have a cultural/societal impact long term, breaking down barriers of bigotry/hate.

    To call it a non-story is an indicator of how society tries to turn a blind eye.
    Quote Originally Posted by ChucktownSteeler View Post
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    Veteran TarlsQtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilPatrickBanana View Post
    Hey, how many rounds will he fall because of this?
    How many teams will not draft him entirely because he's gay?
    And herein lies the problem. Neither you nor the press will know whether he dropped in the draft (IF he does)because of his orientation or because teams liked other players better, but you will pretend to. Every dirty hit against him, rookie hazing, failure on the field, every perceived slight by the front office, fan voting (for things like Pro Bowl), contract dispute, etc. will be portrayed as him fighting for his equality. Evidence is not necessary, just a perception. IF he drops significantly and evidence comes out that it was because of race, screw the team(s) balls to the wall. IF his players haze him any more than the next player and solid evidence comes out that it is because he is gay, screw the players' balls to the wall. IF fans commit criminal conduct (death threats, etc.) toward him, throw the book at them. The problem is that you and the press are already writing his story before it even begins.
    "If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler." -Jack Lambert

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    Quote Originally Posted by TarlsQtr View Post
    People go through disrespect every day. Fat people get disrespected. If you belong to the wrong political party (depending who you happen to be with) you are disrespected. Race, ethnicity, religion, even what region you come from. People are jerks. Short of death threats and/or violence (crimes), get over it.
    This isn't about name calling.

    Let's look at the kid from OK State. Because he is black, the first thing the media did to circle the wagons around Smart (with the usual caveat that he should not have pushed the fan) is to publish and accept as truth his claim that the fan used the "N word." Even AFTER it became clear that no fans, security, or photogs heard a racial slur. (We will never know for 100 percent certainty, but the evidence sure points to the fan being correct.) Yet I hear during the SU game last night a commentator say that "Even IF he did not use a slur, he HAD to know that a "white man" calling a "black man" who is lying on the floor a piece of crap is incredibly racist."
    I don't think this anecdote serves any purpose in the argument I am having with you, which is directly related to the labeling of this as a non-story.

    That is BS. Calling ANYONE lying on the floor a piece of crap is wrong. His race was (and is) meaningless. You fill an arena with 20,000 people and you are going to have some idiots. End of story. Smart was 100 percent wrong. By playing the race (or gay) angle of every story, we just keep perpetuating this nonsense. Smart gets a fig leaf of cover and Orr gets labeled a racist for life regardless of whether he is or not.
    This has nothing to do with our conversation

    I think Jackie Robinson is a terrible analogy. The guy was getting death threats. Many players hated him. Much of the press hated him. He would have stuff thrown at him. With the exception of a few knuckleheads who will call Sam a "fa6" or other such nonsense, he will be idolized by the media and fans. We have come a million miles since JR. Unfortunately though, every instance will be publicized, which will perpetuate the nonsense.
    Of course you think the Jackie analogy is terrible, because it highlight how ridiculous your argument is.

    Yes, society has evolved since Jackie's day. But that doesn't change the circumstances of a young person representing a segment of the population that does not have equal rights/treatment within society.

    Do you think an openly gay athlete won't/doesn't get death threats? Did you not see Twitter after Jason Collins came out? Are you not paying attention to death threats at the Olympics?

    Do some homework.


    Truthfully, I sincerely disagree. By and large, we do live in such a society. Look again at Smart. Those that would use the N word toward him are few. In an arena of roughly 20,000 only one did even if we believe his story which seems discredited. Both Smart and Sam will grow to be rich men. Rather than being irrationally criticized for race/sexual orientation, both will be watched and idolized by millions. I just prefer to watch and appreciate them because of what they do on the court or field rather than genetic chance or who they spend time with off the field.
    Truthfully, I think you've just stated that "we do live in an equal society because very few people use the N word toward black athletes at sporting events".

    Your missing the entire point of the JR Analogy... we've come a long way in race relations, but we are just starting to move in a similar direction with regards to sexual orientation. Yes, the civil rights era set has left a much higher bar for the gay community to start from. Bigotry is much more passive today, then the aggressive nature of the Ku Klux Klan for example.

    Again, you seem way to focused on "name calling".

    But you are dismissing a big social moment, as no big deal because we've climbed from a noose level hatred of African Americans to a more passive and biased treatment of another group of people. And that's just another level of passive bigotry.

    Quote Originally Posted by TarlsQtr View Post
    And herein lies the problem. Neither you nor the press will know whether he dropped in the draft (IF he does)because of his orientation or because teams liked other players better, but you will pretend to. Every dirty hit against him, rookie hazing, failure on the field, every perceived slight by the front office, fan voting (for things like Pro Bowl), contract dispute, etc. will be portrayed as him fighting for his equality. Evidence is not necessary, just a perception. IF he drops significantly and evidence comes out that it was because of race, screw the team(s) balls to the wall. IF his players haze him any more than the next player and solid evidence comes out that it is because he is gay, screw the players' balls to the wall. IF fans commit criminal conduct (death threats, etc.) toward him, throw the book at them. The problem is that you and the press are already writing his story before it even begins.
    I'm not writing a story. I'm not writing Sam's story or anyone else. I am commenting on the larger picture of this "first" in this society.

    I'm arguing with someone who thinks the first openly gay athlete to come into a major american sport is a non-story... in an era when homophobia kills.

    Your argument regarding how "different" the Jackie scenario was, only highlights how much this latent bigotry is still alive.
    Last edited by NeilPatrickBanana; 02-10-2014 at 05:54 PM.
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    NPB - As long as I breath I will ban you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilPatrickBanana View Post
    This isn't about name calling.
    Name calling is the worst treatment Sam is likely to undergo, so to a great extent it is. His teammates are not going to tie him up and beat the guy. If they do, they WILL be dealt with severely.


    I don't think this anecdote serves any purpose in the argument I am having with you, which is directly related to the labeling of this as a non-story.
    Well, it is a lot closer to the worst treatment Sam will have to tolerate than your Jackie Robinson "anecdote", that is for sure.

    This has nothing to do with our conversation.
    Of course it does. Sam will get called some reprehensible things, just like all college/pro athletes are. And you will be there to blow them all out of proportion as some indictment of the entire country.

    Of course you think the Jackie analogy is terrible, because it highlight how ridiculous your argument is.
    LOL No, it is a terrible analogy because worse even than comparing apples to oranges, it is comparing apples to sofas.

    Yes, society has evolved since Jackie's day. But that doesn't change the circumstances of a young person representing a segment of the population that does not have equal rights/treatment within society.
    Nonsense. Will Sam be refused the right to eat with the team at a restaurant? Will he have to stay at a separate hotel? Will the hoses and dogs be sicced on him if he dares to drink from the same water fountain as straight players?

    Do you think an openly gay athlete won't/doesn't get death threats? Did you not see Twitter after Jason Collins came out? Are you not paying attention to death threats at the Olympics?

    Do some homework.
    LOL Twitter? Does that mean Ann Coulter is a Civil Rights hero for being a conservative? She gets death threats all of the time on Twitter. The Olympics? Will Sam be getting drafted by the Sochi Bears NFL franchise?

    You are living 60 years ago. We live in a society that is dominated by people like Ellen and TV shows like Modern Family. The real Jackie Robinson's went by the name of Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, etc. No one under 50 even cares.

    Your missing the entire point of the JR Analogy... we've come a long way in race relations, but we are just starting to move in a similar direction with regards to sexual orientation. Yes, the civil rights era set has left a much higher bar for the gay community to start from. Bigotry is much more passive today, then the aggressive nature of the Ku Klux Klan for example.
    Just starting? Oh, come on. See above.

    Passive bigotry is believing that you have to see bigotry in everything and that people like Michael Sam are incapable of getting through life without people like you to push them forward.


    But you are dismissing a big social moment, as no big deal because we've climbed from a noose level hatred of African Americans to a more passive and biased treatment of another group of people. And that's just another level of passive bigotry.
    See above. I believe that Sam is perfectly capable of getting through life without writing hagiographies because he is gay. You obviously do not. Yet I am the passive bigot? Too funny.

    I'm not writing a story. I'm not writing Sam's story or anyone else. I am commenting on the larger picture of this "first" in this society.
    Of course you are writing a story. You have already claimed that he will drop in the draft and teams will refuse to draft him because of sexual orientation.

    I'm arguing with someone who thinks the first openly gay athlete to come into a major american sport is a non-story... in an era when homophobia kills. Your argument regarding how "different" the Jackie scenario was, only highlights how much this passive bigotry is still alive.
    If homophobia kills, so does being black, being white, being Asian, being short, being Jewish/Christian/Muslim/atheist, etc. Sam has about the same chance of being killed for being gay as he does winning the lottery.

    And you may want to rered your posts for coherence before clicking "Post Reply." You cannot logically make an argument that the kid is the next Jackie Robinson and THEN admit how the bigotry is now "passive." Likewise, you cannot make the case that the bigotry is now passive and then talk about how "homophobia kills." Make up your mind.
    "If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler." -Jack Lambert

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