Michael Sam’s draft signals change, progress in NFL, America

| May 20, 2014
Brenda Robinson

Brenda Robinson

By Brenda Robinson

There are a lot of things America has gotten wrong, but within the last month, America got two of three things right. Three leading news stories, within the referenced time period, prove the point. Firstly, the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action was wrong. However, secondly, the Obama’s administration’s support of Nigeria in bringing the Nigerian girls home was right. And, finally, the decision by the NFL to accept and the St. Louis Rams to draft Michael Sam, an openly gay college football player, was right. Two out of three ain’t bad.

President Barack Obama is living up to his promise; he expects America to live up to its promise, equality for all Americans, regardless of race, religion and sexual orientation. The official White House statement was indicative of expectations for any country that claims “liberty and justice for all. In reference to the drafting of Sam, the White House said, “An important step forward today in our nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate board room, Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.” The president congratulated the St. Louis Rams for taking Sam.

Sam came out as gay at the end of his 2013 football season at the University of Missouri. He was co-defensive player of the year in the best conference in college football, according to analysts. Some contended his “late pick” was due to his sexual orientation. Sam was picked in the seventh round and was the 249th pick out of 256. Critics of Sam’s picking order said discrimination of the LGBT community remains a real problem.

“Punters and kickers were chosen before a player who led the Southeastern Conference with 10.5 sacks and 18 tackles and players from small schools who played against less accomplished competition,” said one critic.

Of course, the critics have data to back up their suspicion of discrimination against Sam, despite his drafting. However, he was selected and the team’s general manager and coach said they were very, very, comfortable with their decision. And, supportive messages outweighed the non-supportive statements. The younger generation, the 40 and under crowd, overwhelmingly said Sam was right to reveal his sexual orientation. Current Pope Francis said the church is willing to evaluate gay civil unions for property and health reasons, though very opposed to gay marriage. Past Popes didn’t even publically use the word gay. Former adviser to President George W. Bush, Michael Gerson, no longer follows the Tea Party’s anti-gay sentiments. Gerson said, “Cosigning homosexuals to a life of celibacy because its against religious documents is unfair.”

Betty Crane, PhD, professor at Widener University’s School of Sexuality Studies, said homosexual resistance is reducing with rapid speed. A 2014 poll revealed 59 percent of Americans approve of same sex marriages, while 38 percent disapprove. A decade ago the percentages were reversed. And, within the football community, 71 percent of the Dallas Cowboys players said they would be comfortable if Michael Sam joined their team.

The time has come for discrimination to cease against any group. Americans must learn to stay in their own lane. There should be a separation of the secular and religious.. Michael Sam’s acknowledgement that he is gay and his kiss with his partner did not infringe on anyone’s individual rights. Let’s not infringe on Michael’s rights. Let’s all relax, including the media. Sam has some difficult days ahead staying on the team. Competition is keen in the NFL.

Sam has passed the first hurdle. He was drafted. He passed the second hurdle of acceptance, indicated by his jersey being the number one seller of all 2014 NFL rookies. The third hurdle will be if his skills will permit him to remain on the team. If not, two out of three ain’t bad.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: National, Opinion, Sports

About the Author ()

Brenda Robinson is an NNPA Emory O. Jackson award-winning columnist for Frost Illustrated.

Comments are closed.