Monday, February 10, 2014

Sam's Club

There will be roughly ninety zillion gallons of pixel juice spilled over the next few days over the fact that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam has come out as gay in advance of the NFL draft. 

There will hand-wringing over whether NFL locker rooms are "ready" to "accept" a gay teammate. There will be paternalistic tut-tutting over the way Sam handled it, and suggestions - presumably largely coming from people who are not gay 24 year old men heading into the NFL draft - as to how he should have done it better. There will be messages of support and pride - hopefully, many, many of those. There will be nasty whispers about what this will do to Sam's draft stock, and the attempts to sandbag it in order to provide cover for teams not drafting the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year are already in full swing*. There will be massive concern trolling from NFL team executives and scouts and coaches, all carefully coached to give the impression that while they would be fine with a gay football player on their team, it's that darn locker room that just wouldn't stand for it. (Note: if an SEC locker room had no problem with it, I'm guessing a professional one would be fine as well. As Spencer Hall noted on Twitter, if gay-friendliness became seen as a recruiting edge, Tuscaloosa would have the biggest damn gay bar you'd ever seen in less time than it would take to download a Scissor Sisters track. But I digress.) There will be old-school NFL types who aren't comfortable with a gay player but who understand that this is an untenable position trying themselves in knots on ESPN trying not to say something stupid that they know is stupid but which they can't help themselves from thinking (See also: Herm Edwards).  There will, in short, be talk, most of which will be utterly ridiculous.

It is the considered position of this blog that Mr. Sam seems extremely comfortable with his decision and happy with his life. That he is in a position where his skills are so undeniable that the bullshit excuses that might have barred a fringier player from getting a shot - ask yourself why Jason Collins isn't on an NBA roster this year - hopefully won't apply. And that we applaud his courage in taking this step, and wish him a long, successful career.

Unless he ends up playing for the Cowboys. In which case, the hell with that guy.

*Draft grades for Sam have ranged from 3rd round to 7th round, largely based on the notion that he's undersized for a DE, may not be great in coverage, and doesn't have "great core flexibility" for when a yoga routine breaks out during the 3rd quarter. The official Sportsthodoxy response to this consists of two words: Elvis Dumervil. 
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