Why The Response to Michael Sam is Not a Surprise
One of the greatest statements ever made to me, as I was walking down the street with my older brother in Chicago, I saw two gay men walking toward us, holding hands. An amazing sign of affection regardless of culture, sexual orientation, age, race or gender.
As we passed them, I said to my older brother, “That is so sweet. Good for them.”
He replied, “It will be really good for them when we don’t have any response toward it, because it is perfectly normal.”
I have either read, listened or watched over the last few days the coverage of University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam’s recent announcement as being homosexual.
The NFL prospect has released this personal information at a time where media senses are quite high regarding anything or anyone “gay”.
The coverage is no surprise and the reactions at this point are almost textbook. Supporters point to the fact this is a courageous move and the difficult choice is must have been, especially to release this information prior to the NFL draft. Detractors tend to regurgitate the same old language, whether religious in nature or bigoted in nature due to the “man’s-man game” of football.
The anonymous musings of owners and scouts and others affiliated with the NFL in a recent Sports Illustrated article are par for the course for this announcement. Here we have a young man, with everything to lose. Not only is his own family publicly thrown into the fray, now they are openly disowning their son. Friends and former teammates of Sam’s are standing by his side. But those not associated with the young man are discussing the “distraction” this may cause to any team.
And how is this a distraction? The reason the announcement received the attention it did has little to do with the fact that Sam is the first NFL prospect to admit he is openly gay. The attention this receives is because this announcement is still something that is “shocking” to people, that this announcement warrants such support and such hatred at the same time.
Stories on this are not receiving attention because of the announcement, they are receiving attention due to individual’s ignorant responses to the announcement.
I support Michael Sam and I support a day where this is normal to everyone. Because, as much as some may not like it, it is perfectly normal, just as our responses should be.