Michael Sam Is Gay

I have stated my personal position regarding sexual activities involving people before but lest I have to go and look for a way to link to it, I shall repeat it here. I have no problem with human sexual activities so long as said activities adhere to all five of the following criteria:

    The sex is between consenting individuals.
    The sex is between adults.
    The sex is not between relatives closer than first cousins.
    The sex is between living specimens.
    The sex is between two human beings (Homo sapiens).

I am not trying to convince anyone that my view of human sexuality or behavior is the proper one or the only one; I simply state it here to provide my backdrop for the following commentary.

Michael Sam – defensive end from Missouri who will enter the NFL Draft this year – is gay. I know this because he said so. I have no problem with that so long as whatever he does as a gay man does not violate any of the five principles above. What I have a problem with is the coverage of this matter. Let me explain…

Michael Sam is not a hero because of his announcement. Yes, it took courage for him to do that; yes, it might cost him in the future in terms of his draft position or in terms of endorsement deals. However, that does not make him a hero. What Michael Sam is, is a person who was sufficiently comfortable with himself to announce to the world that he is not the stereotype of “an NFL edge rusher” or “an effeminate gay man”. Good for him; I think that is fine; I do not confer “hero” status on that behavior.

Just as I am perfectly comfortable in saying that Michael Sam did the honorable thing in telling the world who he is, I am just as comfortable with other people who – when they heard the news – had problems with his pronouncement.

    Some current NFL players have said there might be problems in their locker rooms with a gay teammate. We ought not to vilify them; they may be exactly correct. What those players have done is the mirror image of what Michael Sam did. They have expressed themselves relative to a “delicate topic” in unequivocal terms. Those players ought not to be labeled as “good guys” or as “bad guys” simply on the basis of whether one agrees with them. It takes a degree of “courage” for anyone associated with the NFL to say anything negative about this situation given the political correctness associated with sexual orientation.

    Criticism of Michael Sam’s father for his “less that positive reaction” to his son’s announcement is particularly abhorrent. This man is as entitled to his opinion as anyone reporting on that opinion or anyone reading about his reaction. Just because I do not care how Michael Sam expresses his sexuality does not mean that his father is an uncaring Neanderthal.

Sticking with NFL news items that do not amount to a smidgen of shoat s[p]it, two Congressthings stood up on their hind legs and decried the name of the Washington NFL franchise. A Democrat and a Republican agreed that the name was a racial slur and that they wanted to “pressure Roger Goodell” to force a name change. The silliness of this news item is that it shows that bipartisanship can occur on matters of little consequence to the state of the union. The good news is that the two Congressthings zeroed in on “economic matters” as the way they might apply pressure to the Commish and the NFL. They said that they would be amenable to revoking the tax-exempt status of the NFL under IRS Code 506 (c) (3).

That news item had a shelf life of about 36 hours because the Washington Post reported yesterday that they would not be introducing any legislation to that effect and that there was no broad-based support for it were it to be submitted. With regard to this controversy, I have said for years that trying to make this into a morality issue is a non-starter; the way to effect the change that the change-agents seek is to make this into an economic issue. It seems as if two members of the US House of Representatives have caught onto that concept. Now, their task is to get 216 more of their colleagues to think the way they are thinking…

The NFL will televise half of this year’s Thursday Night Football games on CBS and not only on NFL Network. That is additional revenue for the NFL and it means that the early season NFL games on Thursday night will dominate the ratings for that evening. Here is how Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot assessed this situation:

“TV timeout: With its Thursday night package of NFL games, CBS may be sacking ESPN’s long-running Thursday college schedule for a loss of relevance. At the very least, going head-to-head against the NFL will muffle a lot of the buzz schools like Virginia Tech enjoyed over the years by appearing on Thursday night. I could be wrong, but given the NFL’s popularity, won’t even ESPN have to pay more attention to the CBS game than its own?”

I have a good friend and former colleague who is possessed by fantasy football to a degree that I might organize an intervention for him should he take his fixation(s) even one step further. He knows not to discuss his fantasy teams with me – last time I inquired, he had seven of them in different leagues and that was a couple of years ago so only the Lord knows how many teams and leagues he deals with now. We bumped into one another yesterday and he told me how excited he was that the NFL Combine was going to start in about 10 days. He said he was going to record all of the coverage of the event in order to create his own “draft boards” for his fantasy teams next summer.

My friend and former colleague is a good person. He has a family of solid contributors to society; he is active in his church and has – at least in the past – done volunteer work in the local community to help those much less fortunate than either he or I. Having said all that, let me make this categorical statement:

    People who look forward to watching the NFL Combine – let alone recording it for use as reference material – are as uninteresting as those people who record the Super Bowl only to fast forward through the play to watch the commercials.

Finally, Brad Rock had this note in the Deseret News a while back regarding fans and what they do:

“A couple in Alabama has named its daughter Krimson Tide.

“Is this a ‘Bama thing, or can fans plan on a baby named Thundering Herd showing up in West Virginia?”

    Hey, that would be better than “Bulls Hitt”…

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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Comments

  • Rich  On February 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I feel the same way about fantasy football, Curmudgeon, but I am happy to report that the son-in-law of a very good friend of mine won one such contest, was flown into Las Vegas and put up at The Mirage for Super Bowl weekend. When I met them at the airport he and his wife were presented with a check for $150,000.00. Maybe there is something to that activity….

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Rich:

      I have no problem with folks who play fantasy football. Any activity/hobby can cross the line from hobby to obsession; when fantasy football does that to someone, I feel sorry for the person. Congrats to the son-in-law of your good friend. However, if he starts to call you on the phone to talk to you about his fantasy teams and his latest moves in his leagues without you asking about such matters, feel free to tell him to get a life.

  • Doug  On February 14, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I mostly agree with you about Michael Sam. Everyone has a right to like his sexual preference, or not. They also have a right to say that some people may not be comfortable around him.

    That said, we are at a pivotal moment in history regarding acceptance of homosexuality in our society at large. Someone like him openly coming out is a big deal for removing the barriers others might be less willing to cross. He is a star college player, so it will be interesting to see what the league does.

    I expect him to get drafted early, and have a very public (lots of media) pre-season camp. There are several cities where he might be widely accepted by fans and media. I think SF and NYC are obvious. Another you might not think of is Atlanta.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Doug:

      I think there are at least a dozen franchises where team acceptance of Michael Sam would lead to media/fan acceptance.

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