Monday, February 10, 2014

Top NFL prospect Michael Sam comes out. What will happen next?

All of the talk yesterday was about top NFL prospect Michael Sam, defensive lineman of the Missouri Tigers, coming out of the closet and his desire to be in the NFL. For those who have not seen, the following is the interview:

I support him tremendously, but now comes the million dollar question. Just how will his coming out affect his draft prospects. Before coming out, he was a top pick. What's going to happen now?

While everyone is toasting Sam for his courage, according to an interview with eight anonymous football executives and coaches in Sports Illustrated, he will now face a hard road and that's if he is even picked for a team:

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

All the NFL personnel members interviewed believed that Sam’s announcement will cause him to drop in the draft. He was projected between the third and seventh rounds prior to the announcement. The question is: How far will he fall?

“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down,” said a veteran NFL scout. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?’”

My opinion? I think Sam has a good shot, if he is chosen, to be an excellent player and I also think he can withstand the machismo and nonsense which comes with being in the NFL.

But like all pioneers, he is going to have to deal with a lot of flack and bad assumptions.

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