If you’re not an NFL fan, you might not know that this year we encountered the first new NFL player that is openly gay. Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams out of the University of Missouri this year and received much more press about his lifestyle than his playing ability. This past week the Rams released Michael Sam but the NFL was frightened by the potential fan reaction to the first openly gay player being cut and decided to step in to avoid the potential fallout.
Immediately following the Rams release of Michael Sam the NFL began to reach out to other teams to avoid the negative press that was sure to flow from the left-wing media: there was only one taker. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys stepped up to the plate to relieve the NFL of their paranoia by signing Michael Sam to their practice squad.
While Michael Sam had been a consensus All-American and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, he suffered from size, being both too small to play effectively on the defensive line and too big and too slow to play linebacker. While the Rams took a chance, it wasn’t likely that Michael Sam would find a home in the NFL.
Sadly while Michael Sam’s journey was to demonstrate that being openly gay wouldn’t prevent him from having a career in the NFL, the league itself made it all about him being gay. Everyone, regardless of their race, color or sexual orientation deserves a chance, but do they deserve “special treatment?” What do the NFL’s actions say to the next openly gay player? Will they always step in to prevent another openly gay player from being cut? What does it say to heterosexual players? Thousands of straight NFL players have hit the streets without so much as a how-do-you-do from the NFL.
We can all feel bad that Michael Sam’s NFL career might be short, just as we would had a rookie received a career-ending injury; but this is life and it’s never fair. Trying to make life more fair for some makes it less fair for all..