Michael Sam, NFL prospect, comes out as gay



Melanie Boysen | Contributing Writer

The sports headlines have recently exploded that Michael Sam, a NFL prospect, has come out as gay. Talk around all sports media have commented on how his coming out may affect his chances of being drafted to the NFL which has been predicted in the first few rounds. One might think this is not a huge deal, NBA players have come out as gay as well as other sports players and the world has still not ended. Unfortunately, politics have decided to take this situation even further. Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Burkman is trying to create legislation that would ban gay athletes from playing in the NFL.

Recently, Burkham is quoted as saying “we are losing our decency as a nation,” because of the acceptance of gays. Maybe our nation is on the decline, but I highly doubt we can blame all the decency problems in American on gay people. Sadly, you cannot blame everything on “the gays”. Using them as an excuse for problems in America is nothing new, but it is a constant battle. But Burkman has other ideas of solving this indecency problem claiming that “if the NFL has no morals and no values, then Congress must find values for it.” If you could tell me Congress’s morals, that’d be great.

One surprising fact that I found about Burkham is that he has a brother, Jim Burkman. What makes him relevant? Oh yeah, he’s also gay. Burkham has never mentioned his brother until Jack wrote a tweet calling him “an ass.” Jack Burkham has accepted his brother as being gay but never wanted him to be public about it. Jim Burkham felt as though his brother crossed a line and is using this as an attention-seeking gimmick.

News about Michael Sam is a little late. Sam actually came out last year as gay during a preseason football practice at the University of Missouri. His teammates did not use it against him but accepted him and were waiting for him to officially come out. Sam came out as gay before the NFL Draft so that it would be coming from him and on his own terms. He wants coverage on him for his football talent and skills, not his sexuality. After all, his football talent is what matters.

Tons of people all over social media have supported him and his choice of coming out. Numerous University of Missouri players have supported him and University of Missouri students rallied for him against the Westborro Baptist supporters. Support has come from big name retired pro NFL players such as Jerome Bettis and Deion Sanders.

What I cannot understand is why his sexuality is such a big deal to everyone. He is comfortable in his own skin and has accepted who he is. I would like to think that I would be as comfortable with myself as Sam and be able to confess to the world who I really am. Sam knows that it may affect his chances in the NFL but he does not want to lie to everyone.

There have only been a few players throughout the history of the NFL that have come out as gay such as Roy Simmons. Unlike Sam, many of them came out after their career in football had ended. Deion Sanders was in the NFL for 14 years and played for 4 different NFL teams before he publicly came out. He states that there were gay players on every team. All the players knew and there were never any problems. Apparently being gay and in the NFL is only a big deal when a person is openly gay and the rest of the world knows it.

I cannot seem to comprehend why people are making this a negative situation. Michael Sam is not trying to focus on his sexuality but that is all people can focus on. Even his football skills have been pushed to the back burner. As a society, we ignore or sweep under the rug all the murders, rapists, and dog fighters that are football players yet we are fascinated when a person comes out as gay in the NFL. We only care about “scandalous” headlines. People fixate on these things and try to make a big deal about them. Anybody else remember the Tim Tebow phase? Even though he was open and confident in his beliefs, people still frowned down on him and still do today. Bottom line is that we condemn those who have good qualities and are making this nation “decent” but we choose to idolize those who in fact have the power to make our nation “indecent.”

When did we start to hide our differences instead of embracing them? In fact, how about we stop and think before you decide to take away someone else’s rights to play football just because he likes a different sex than you. Pretty sure I’m still going to be watching Michael Sam play football. It’s time to accept people for who they are inst