Michael Sam is about to make history as the first “out” football player in the NFL. Because let’s be honest, he’s not the only gay dude within the organization.
And I’m sorry if that fact may have burst your bubble but come on. You didn’t really think that only straight guys play sports did you?
The NFL is built on a legacy of strength and grit. The men who play the game are seen as warriors who use their athletic abilities to win games, garner fame and secure financial freedom for themselves and those they care about the most.
Sam is walking in that direction, but before any of these possibilities becomes a reality the most obvious question needs to be answered:
Can he play ball?
And that’s the question that many people seem to have tossed to the side because they’re all caught up in the hype of Michael Sam being a homosexual.
When he was drafted to the St. Louis Rams television crews were around to capture the moment and were filming while he received the phone call. Immediately he broke down crying and kissed his boyfriend on live television.
People went the fuck NUTS!
On one side you had the people who thought that Sam kissing his boyfriend was inappropriate, especially during the draft when little kids were watching. Then you had the supporters who pointed their fingers at those who were shocked and appalled calling them ‘homophobes’. Then you had the constant tweets and articles permeating throughout social media. Everyone had something to say about it but nobody seemed to care about the most important question:
Can he play ball?
Because that’s really the only question that matters the most because he’s a Football player.
Not a spokesman for the entire gay community.
Not an Oprah endorsed Reality TV star.
Not a man in an interracial relationship.
But since we’ve arrived at these fine points let’s examine a bit shall we?
There has been speculation about the sexuality of football players for years, and because of the ridicule they would face they’ve remained in the closet. They may always remain in the closet, and that is their choice. With Sam openly announcing that he is, indeed, gay it challenges the conventions of many people who watch football and scares the shit out of all the closet cases in the NFL who believe that Sam may somehow out them. Please, people, pay close attention to those that have too much of an opinion on this matter because they may be trying to take some of the attention away from themselves. In this respect Sam is a pioneer at this time in history if he does in fact become the first openly gay player. It is a step in the right direction for the gay community, but Michael Sam is not the entire gay community.
And honestly, if he can’t play ball and doesn’t secure that gig none of it will matter anyway.
Oprah giving him his own docuseries can turn him into a character way before he’s earned the right to become one based on his athleticism and not on his struggle for being the gay football player. I understand Oprah is trying to tell his story and potentially answer some questions that many have regarding his lifestyle. However, the only question we really need answered is;
Can he play ball?
And no television series is going to answer that for him. Only his ability can.
Finally, Sam is black. An openly gay black football player is a huge milestone. However, many of my brothas in the gay community are disheartened by the fact that his boyfriend is white. I can understand the need for wanting more successful examples of two brothas in a strong, committed relationship because we don’t have many examples to look towards. But please let it go. Why do you need the validation of someone else’s relationship to give you hope in the first place? Dating, as a whole, is hard. And dating within the gay community is an entirely different beast. It would be nice if he was in love with another brotha, but that is not the case. So do we turn our backs on him for this one fact? Because even if all of his boyfriends turn out to be white until the day God shuts his eyes he will forever be the first openly gay active football player in the NFL (who happens to be black)
But none of this will matter, if he can’t play ball.
So basically, my advice to Mike Sam is to go out there and prove yourself. Not as a gay man. Not as a TV celebrity. Not as a lover of white men.
But as a Football player. Because that’s your only job.