Michael Alan Sam Jr. is a 24-year-old football player from Galveston, Texas. Sam played at the University of Missouri and was drafted to the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round as the 249th overall pick in the NFL draft. So why is Sam, a player that is considered undersized for his position, being talked about on just about every news platform in America?
Because Sam is the first openly gay player in the NFL, and the reactions to him being drafted as a homosexual have been mixed.
Sam’s reaction to being drafted was televised, and part of his celebration was kissing his boyfriend.
If Sam being gay and in the NFL wasn’t enough of a field day for the news, him kissing his boyfriend on live TV definitely made it a field day. The response to the kiss was immediate and ranged from joy to disgust. Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible” in response to what is being referred to as “the kiss.”
According to CNN, “The Dolphins responded quickly, ordering Jones to pay an undisclosed fine and barring him from team activities until he finishes ‘training for his recent comments made on social media.’”
Former Ole Miss basketball player Marshall Henderson tweeted, “Boycotting sportscenter til this michael sam nasty a– s— is off…My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!! #SICKENING.”
However, there has also been a positive response. According to USA Today, Sam’s No. 96 jersey for the St. Louis Rams is the second-highest-selling rookie jersey.
According to an email sent to ABC News from the White House, “The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey.
From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”
Regardless of whether you agree with “the kiss,” it’s important to recognize that Sam has a lot of guts for playing football in college after coming out and for wanting to play in the NFL, knowing what could come his way.
The NFL and its locker rooms have been known for not being the most accepting of places, but him being drafted is showing that the country is slowly but surely moving in the right direction, being more accepting and showing love to those who are homosexual.
According to USA Today, Sam being drafted is good for the NFL and for the state of Missouri, one of the 29 states where it’s OK to fire someone for being gay. Sam is the best thing to happen to a bill that is trying to be passed in Missouri that would protect those in the LGBT community from discrimination in the workplace.
It’s important to recognize that leaders of the Church preach tolerance and acceptance and do not support discrimination against those that sin or might be different from us.
We should listen to their words and act accordingly.