Michael Sam is gay.
Apparently, this announcement has the potential to be positively seismic, since Sam's future is expected to include playing in the NFL.
Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri and the Associated Press' SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay in an interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Sunday.Frankly, I think it's weird that Sam's announcement is considered courageous.
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.
"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."
..."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.
On Sunday night, the NFL released a statement supporting Sam.
"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage," NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said in the statement. "Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
Why make a big deal out of it? He's gay. So what?
I assume the NFL currently has gay players. Some people are gay. No kidding. Whoop-dee-do.
But, but, but there's never been an openly gay player in the NFL before. This is really big stuff.
Really? I don't think so.
He's a very talented football player. That's what matters.
The NFL accepts criminals in its ranks, people who have broken the law and committed serious offenses. It would be crazy to reject someone based on his sexual orientation.
On the other hand, it would be crazy to draft him just to make a statement.
I DON'T CARE about Michael Sam's sexual orientation. It makes absolutely no difference to me. The media are telling me I'm supposed to care.