Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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About a week has passed and the dust has settled. If you don’t live under a rock then you probably already know that Missouri’s All-American defensive lineman, Michael Sam, has revealed that he is gay. Sam jumped a personal hurdle by coming out of the closet, but if the All-American hears his name announced this May at the 2014 NFL Draft, then Michael Sam will be the first openly gay football player in the National Football League. Congratulations to Michael on coming to terms with his sexuality and who he really is, but even in the age that we live in, will his honesty hurt his chances in the NFL?
I know, this is 2014 and there are states as we speak that are legalizing gay marriage, I get that. Homosexuality has become a way of life that is being progressively accepted in our society today, but I am not talking about regular society. I am talking about the All He-Man League that is the NFL and even further, the barbaric dungeon that is a NFL locker room. I have never personally been apart of a NFL locker room, but once the Richie Incognito story hit the market, the stories that hit print and the airwaves about NFL teammates were pretty interesting to say the least.
Plenty of athletes have revealed their homosexuality after they have left professional athletics like Jason Collins (who has yet to be signed by an NBA team), John Amaechi and Billy Bean (not the Oakland Athletics GM), but to do it before a season or even a draft seemed like social suicide.
My thoughts were the same for Sam’s case, but once I heard that he told his Missouri Tiger teammates back in August and they fully supported him, that made me realize that it could work. People are always saying that college football is pretty much the minor leagues of the NFL, so if an openly gay man can be accepted in the University of Missouri Football locker room, whose to say that the NFL locker room will be much different?
There is no question that Michael Sam will receive scrutiny from fans, opposing players and even some NFL general managers. But like I said before, this is 2014 and we live in a different age. This is an age where people with authority are willing to take a risk and try something new. There will be at least one NFL team that is willing to take a chance on Sam because at the end of the day, this All-American was the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year with 48 tackles and 11.5 sacks. Not a bad resume.
Chances are pretty good that Sam will not go in the first or even the second round of this year’s draft, but after the heart, honesty and courage that he exonerated to the world, the chances are still pretty good that you will see Michael Sam on an NFL roster in 2014.