Michael Sam Is Doing More Harm to His NFL Future

NFL-LogoLet me start by saying I am fan of Michael Sam.  Not only do I think Sam could play in the NFL, I want the young brother to succeed in doing so.

The problem is that he is making it harder for himself to realize that dream.

Sam recently gave a speech and Q&A session in Dallas recently when he said he was not the only gay person in the NFL. Here’s more:

“I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one.”

As far as I know, Sam probably was just answering an audience member’s question.  I’d imagine that after giving such a speech, Sam (or anyone else) would have no choice but to be candid during a Q&A session.

And to be sure, there are gay players in the NFL.  If the NFL mirrors society’s demographics, there would be quite a few such players in the NFL.  And hold on to your hats (or toupees for the balding readers), but I’m pretty sure there are coaches AND teammates who know who those gay players are – and likely do not give a damn.

I just think that there are coaches – and probably some players – who are getting a little tired Michael Sam’s act.  It’s not just because the brother is gay, it’s because teams hate, and I mean HATE, distractions.

No one wants to put up with the media circus that Sam would bring in the locker room, especially for a guy who can’t run (he clocked a 4.99 40-yard dash at the NFL veteran combine).  Far too many people in the NFL are still smarting from the Tim Tebow experience, even though most of it was through no fault of his own.

Even though Sam hoped that his sexuality was not the reason why he couldn’t stick to an NFL roster last year, I’ll take it a step further and say that his OPENNESS about his sexuality before even being drafted had a huge part in him not playing last season.   In fact, if he kept his sexuality to himself I think he would have been drafted much higher, maybe in the third or fourth round.

Do I think it’s wrong that the former SEC co-defensive player of the year has not caught onto an NFL roster?  Absolutely.

It’s not like Sam had a bad 2014 preseason with the St. Louis Rams.  He acquitted himself in the Rams’ last two preseason games, including a two-sack performance vs. the Cleveland Browns.  Word was that Sam was barely beaten out by an undrafted free agent during that preseason.

I just think that Sam should have focused his efforts on working harder on his measurables and concentrated on having a good Combine showing for teams interested in his services instead of looking to be a celebrity/activist.

As I have learned as a black man in America, sometimes one has to play the game in order to get to where he/she needs to be.  It’s not right, but it is what it is – especially in a society where he/she is in the minority.

Sam would be more effective if he were speaking out for gay rights while being firmly entrenched on an NFL roster.  The more Sam keeps speaking out on gay rights while remaining unemployed, the more radioactive he becomes.

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