Click to Learn More
Milford Town Crier


Town Crier Publication Dates
Town Crier Newspaper Advertising Rates

Town Crier Publications

Promote Your Page Too

Sports Page


Sports Flash

Michael Sam Story Should Serve to Inspire
On Sunday evening, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam made an announcement that came as a shock to many when he told the world that he is gay. I say a shock to many, and not to all, because a lot of people already knew.
Sam came out to his teammates prior to this past season. For decades, we have heard the question asked about whether a sport like football with a macho, at times bordering on Neanderthal-like locker room culture, would be "ready" for an openly gay player.
If the Tigers weren't ready, they did a nice job covering it up. Sam said his teammates were supportive of him, made an effort to tone down homophobic rhetoric in the locker room, and above all, had success on the field. Missouri was picked to finish sixth in the Southeastern Conference, and instead went 12-2, earning a spot in the conference title game along the way. For his part, Sam played well enough to earn co-defensive MVP honors in the SEC and is projected to be third or fourth round choice in this spring's NFL draft. If he is selected, he would be the first active openly gay player in one of the major North American men's team sports.
The reaction has been intense and come from all sides of the issue. There has been speculation as to whether he will fall in the draft, or be drafted at all. At least one NFL front-office executive, conveniently cloaked in anonymity, has said he does not feel the league is ready and that football is still a "man's-man" game. For the record, Sam is 6'2", 260 points, and posted a very "manly" 19 tackles for a loss last fall at Mizzou.
Another common reaction has been from those who do not believe this is a story. "So Michael Sam is gay," they said. "So what?"
In a way, that view expresses both tolerance and idealism. A person's sexual orientation should not matter and in most fields, it doesn't. But in the world of men's professional sports, this is a first.
What Michael Sam is, more than anything else, is an example of why it shouldn't be as big a story as it is. For all of the individuals who say pro football isn't ready or that a gay athlete in the locker room would be a distraction, Sam is what proves them wrong.
Sam can also be an example that, while intolerance will never vanish completely, we seem to live in a time where more and more people are awakening to the idea that a person's sexual orientation has no bearing on his or her ability to do a job well. This idea can apply to the professional world, the military, or the "man's-man" world of professional sports.
Sam is the first member of his family to attend college. He had a rough childhood that saw one of his older brothers die from a gunshot wound in front of his own eyes. Another brother has been missing for more than a decade, and two more are imprisoned. Breaking new ground and overcoming challenges are nothing new for Michael Sam.
Some say the NFL should not serve as an instrument for social change. I could not disagree more. Major League Baseball was an instrument of social change in 1947, and the NFL has more eyeballs on it than ever before. Things won't be perfect, there will be bumps in the road and Sam is sure to face instances of intolerance. But Michael Sam's story may inspire other young athletes to be who they are, and do so openly and without fear.
To say it isn't a "story" is naive, though I look forward to the day when it isn't.




[back]




Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

Click to Learn More

HOME | CALENDAR | NEWS ARCHIVE | EDITORIAL | PHOTO GALLERY | SPORTS | ADVERTISING | ABOUT US

Town Crier Publications, Inc. · 48 Mechanic Street, Upton, MA 01568
Phone: 508-529-7791 · E-mail: sales@towncrierpubs.com

  Copyright © 2019  Town Crier Publications, Inc.
 All rights reserved.  ·  Login

Website designed and hosted by Standing Stone Designs.