I am an openly proud Heterosexual male. Can you imagine opening a job interview with that statement?
That is essentially what Michael Sam has done. He opened the start of his job interview by saying he was openly and proudly homosexual. His job, professional football player, hires via the draft. There are quite a few stories of personality and “off-the-field” activities impacting new hires. There are also plenty of stories of experts over and under estimating the talent of these new hires and hiring them in the wrong spot, i.e. drafting early and drafting late. It’s my understanding Michael Sam is probably projected to be a mid range “hire” in the draft. He is about the number 16 player amongst defensive lineman. He’s draftable, but unless he works hard, probably not going to be a household name at DE. The NFL is presumably a sport dominated by heterosexual males. Perhaps Michael Sam felt he could differentiate himself by coming out.
The real truth of the matter is in terms of his real “job” his sexuality doesn’t matter. The same applies to me and pretty much most working people in the world, it doesn’t matter. The reaction from the NFL and current players was tremendously positive, which is a good thing. That being said, why does all of this leave a bad taste in my mouth?
Here is another promotion of labels in our society. OK, he is homosexual I get it, but can he play? If he becomes a Redskin and sacks Romo, is the first thing I am going to think is “good job you first openly homosexual NFL player?” No. If he becomes a Redskin and is horrible I certainly won’t think he is horrible because he is homosexual. But will I as a Heterosexual football fan be labeled a homophobe because I think the homosexual player stinks? It’s worth contemplating the reality of that fact. After all, trying starting a logical discussion with some about how utterly horrible the current President is and you get told you are a racist.
How as a society do we get past labels? We stop using them. That is hard because apparently we all need to classify things in our mind, and certain segments promote them to no end and use them as weapons against other segments. Maybe because that is all they have to stand on at the end of the day, and certain labels still elicit guilt from certain people. ENOUGH. I won’t feel at all guilty if one Sunday I am watching the NFL and Michael Sam messes up a play and I point that out.
Ethan Grayson, Free State Radio Happy Hour Co-Host