On Saturday May 10th, 2014, The St. Louis Rams made history by drafting Michael Sam. Michael Sam made headlines back in February, by announcing to the world that he was gay. At the time, Sam was projected as a 3rd round pick in the NFL Draft, so most expected Sam to become the first openly gay player in the NFL. After a poor showing at the NFL Combine in late February, Sam’s stock price dropped drastically. Did some General Mangers use his poor combine as an excuse to drop him in their rankings? Or did these General Manager’s look at Sam strictly as a football player and nothing more? I hope the latter is true. While I understand the General Managers in the NFL put an unreasonable amount of value on Combine results, I don’t know if Sam deserved to drop all the way into the 7th round. Sam was selected with the 249th overall pick. The St. Louis Rams may be the biggest beneficiary of Sam’s draft stock dropping, as I believe they got Sam about 2 or 3 rounds later than his abilities dictate.
Immediately following the selection, the camera flipped to Sam’s home as he received the call from The Rams. His house was filled with family and friends who were there to share in this joyous occasion. Most notably Sam’s boyfriend was right there by his side. Sam was visibly overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. Sam’s boyfriend stood by his side the entire time and when Sam hung up the phone, the two kissed and embraced each other. This display of affection between two men has drawn quite a reaction, and is currently one of the top stories in the sports world. Most people are fine with this, for they understand that the world has changed and this is a personal choice that every person is entitled to make. Others, however, are not as tolerant of Sam’s relationship, and some have gone as far as to publicly speak out negatively toward Sam. Don Jones, of the Miami Dolphins, tweeted “OMG” and “horrible” in reaction to Sam and his boyfriends televised displays of affection. Jones has subsequently been suspended and fined an undisclosed amount for his comments.
I believe that every one in the world has the right to do what makes them happy. If being gay is a choice that makes Sam happy, then who are we to tell him he is wrong? Ignorance, unfortunately is everywhere, but the best thing Sam can do is ignore the negativity and stay focused on the game he loves. Now, when it comes to football, I believe he should be judged solely as a football player and a teammate. All the other stuff shouldn’t play a role in his place on The St. Louis Rams or any other team. This is why I believe Sam unfairly dropped in the draft, but nonetheless, he was drafted. He now has just as good of an opportunity to make the roster and receive playing time as anybody else. You would think that despite his poor showing at the combine, his game will translate to the NFL. He was only an All-American and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year last season. That sounds like a 7th round pick to me! In all seriousness, we should be happy for Sam and every young man that was drafted this year. They each have a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the NFL, and they should give it their all.
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