Michael Sam was drafted in the seventh (and final) round by the St. Louis Rams over the weekend. Being the first openly gay football player in America, the cameras were trained on him as he received “the call” informing him he would be the next player chosen. For those that hoped Mr. Sam would hide his sexual preference, try to blend in and never bring up the “gay” thing again, your hopes were dashed when he hung up the phone, began to cry and kissed his boyfriend. ON TV!
Courageously, Michal Sam is not trying to run away from who he is, and like almost all the other draft picks who planted a wet one on their girlfriends or wives, Michael did the same with his chosen partner.
Good for him.
And while the reaction was predictable from a segment of our population still struggling with their own sexuality enough to feel threatened by someone else’s, I hope he does not let that deter him from being the athlete, professional and man he chooses to be. It remains to be seen if the hyper-macho world of the NFL will accept him, but it seems the Rams are a good fit.
The challenge for Michael Sam begins now, since making an NFL roster as a seventh-round pick is by no means guaranteed. Regardless of how his professional football career plays out, the bigger challenge will always be with those who do not accept him for the way he is, something millions of Americans who don’t play football know so very well.