Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Poisonous Perception

Credit: news.yahoo.com


Late Sunday evening, co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year and 2014 NFL draft prospect Michael Sam revealed the ground-breaking news that only few had previously known about him:
"I am Michael Sam. I am a college graduate, I am African-American, and I am gay."

Now, you may be thinking, "Why would he write an article on news from Sunday?" Your question could not be more appropriate. In fact, I had no intentions of even touching this story with a response column. I congratulated Michael Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and felt no need to write another unnecessary post breaking the news to you all, when ESPN will be talking about it for the next six months non-stop.

If by any chance you happen to care about my opinion on the whole thing, I'll sum it up for you in three simple words: I love it. Why? I am one of those insane hippies who truly does believe that all men (and women), especially within the realm of sports, are 100% equal. 

Michael Sam's sexual preference is no business of mine, and quite frankly I just want to make sure as an analyst that the kid can rush the passer and that he has a good head on his shoulders, which have both proven to be true to this point. In my mind, being attracted to members of the same sex does not make you a bad person. Simple as that.

Since the world-wide confession, there has been an overwhelming number of positive responses to Michael Sam's courageous gesture, which I genuinely applaud. It is a breath of fresh air to see the large amount of love and support given to a recently established pioneer on an issue as sensitive as the merger of a homosexual player and the macho-man culture of professional sports; football in particular.

However, we live in an unfortunate world where the very good is more than likely accompanied by the deeply disturbing. 

Following Sam's televised confession, many NFL players/personnel, both former and current, came out to express their discomfort over the topic. Players such as current Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Ryan Clark and New York Giants corner back Terrell Thomas have made it extremely clear over the past week that they do not like the proposition of what unnecessary distractions having an openly gay player will bring to the National Football League.


Terrell Thomas offered up this bit of supremely weak insight, saying: "I think society is ready for it and America's ready for it, but I don't think the NFL is. As a player, all you want to know is if he can play. That's on the field. But in the locker room, it's different." (via espn.go.com).


Can we give it a rest? My lord. I have never been inside of an NFL locker room, and I will never be an NFL athlete, but what exactly are you all afraid of? Him looking at you? Him touching you? In my experience with having gay friends and acquaintances, they are not genitalia-gobbling fiends who crave men at all hours.


Homosexuals, just like heterosexuals, have their own tastes and standards; and according to Michael Sam, "I have never felt a sexual attraction to any of my teammates." So, why do YOU think you would be the first teammate he finds attractive? Quit flattering yourself and mind your own business. Once, if he ever crosses the line, you address it. Until then, get over yourselves. 


My psychological synopsis? I truly believe NFL players are intimidated by the proposition of an openly gay player being more successful than them. It interferes with their "macho-man" beliefs and they cannot handle the potential embarrassment of having a guy like Michael Sam out-perform them. I have no proof, but I would bet on it. 


Don't believe me? Look back at the segregation of race in sports back in the day. White people were prejudice and rejected the notion of African Americans in sports, simply over the fear of falling inferior to the black athlete. What happened? Well, you see the occasional White athlete in the NBA or NFL, but the breakdown shows a majority of African American athletes in professional sports. Go figure.


The fear of Michael Sam does not stem from homophobia, that is not an actual thing. Rather, the rejection of the gay athlete stems from a deep-rooted fear of inadequacy, and it is time to man up and accept it.


Depending on how polarizing this story becomes, I still have Michael Sam as a third round talent who will most likely drop to the fifth, sixth, or seventh round. He is a talented situational pass rusher with a high motor and desire to win. He could be an impact player, and I wouldn't mind having him on the Eagles; but only if they would accept him. 


Even after repetitively hearing the irritating stance of those in the NFL who were uncomfortable with Michael Sam, and whatever wildly unnecessary distractions he brought to the proverbial table, this column still had no intention of being written. It was not until yesterday when I heard the comments spewed by the father of Michael Sam that I had been completely fed up with the situation.


Michael Sam Sr. broke his side of the story to the New York Times, which basically explains the fathers grave disappointment and rejection of his child's lifestyle. Michael had apparently broken the news to his father several days prior to the national confession, while celebrating his fathers birthday party.


Sam sent him this simple, yet powerful text: "Dad, I'm gay."


The text message sent back to the courageous text has not been shared, but this is a direct quote from Michael Sam Sr. on what happened next:


“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks.” he admitted to the New York Times.


He added, “I don’t want my grand kids raised in that kind of environment." and "I'm old school. I am a man-and-a-woman type of guy."


After reading those comments, I could not hold back. This section essentially wrote itself, channelled from my inner rage and confusion.

Michael Sam's Sr., you do not deserve the luxury of calling yourself a father. In fact, for the rest of this column I will resort to referring to you as "his biological dad." Being an actual father is a lot more than liking your son for convenience sake or tolerating him as long as he follows all of your criteria. I'm sorry, but who the hell are you anyway?

Are you co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year? Are you an NFL prospect? Actually, here is the best question: Have you ever BEEN gay? No? Then how in this world would you ever know a damn thing about what it is like to be your son? You do not. Not even for a second. You hold on to your "traditional man" beliefs of a man and a woman, when you know nothing other than pure fear when it comes to homosexuality.

I may know next to nothing about the biological dad of Michael Sam, but I will tell you one thing that is a fact, he would not hesitate for one second leeching off of his son's future NFL earnings. Which brings me to my next question. Michael Sam Sr., are you really that absent-minded?

Before I come off as wrongfully judgmental of the relationship between a biological dad and his biological son, allow me to make one thing clear.

My problem is not with Michael Sam Sr.'s personal beliefs regarding homosexuality; my problem is that he opted to make his beliefs public by granting an interview to perhaps the largest newspaper in the United States, The New York Times. Why would you contribute to the excessive denigration and negative feedback to your own son? He did not harm anyone, he did not cheat anyone, he is just different than you.

It is time for Michael Sam's biological dad to take a long look in the mirror and realize he is nothing more than a coward and a pompous jackass for doing that to his own son. He will realize one day that he missed out big time on having a relationship with a strong, brave, and talented guy. He sold his heart for an interview.

I believe that Michael Sam will feel a high sense of motivation to prove those who doubt the homosexual athlete wrong, including his own biological dad. I am rooting for Michael Sam's success, and I hope he will continue to be a positive voice for the homosexual athlete.

It is time for American sports to shake the poisonous perception of homosexuality.

2 comments:

  1. That was beautiful and powerful Greg. You are accurate, well founded and all around righteous in your point to comment on the only outrageously wrong element in the situation. thank you
    <3 kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate that very much and I hope you enjoy more posts in the future :)

    ReplyDelete