In case you missed it, Michael Sam became the first openly gay athlete to be drafted into the NFL. He is now the first openly gay player in a league that isn’t historically known for open-mindedness or acceptance. It didn’t take long for the small-minded NFL bigots to out themselves. Seconds after Sam was drafted, a scene that was captured on national television with a celebratory kiss with the person he loves, Miami Dolphins players took to twitter to voice their ignorance. I will not repeat the tweets made or even give you the names of the players that made them. I’m sure a quick Google search will suffice if you’re looking for that information. I will also not single out the Dolphins’ players, as I am sure their thoughts are shared with others around the league. Although, given what the Dolphins went through last year, it’s ironic those morons would be the first to say something classless.
Allow me to proclaim from the highest mountain I can find, “Michael Sam is a hero.” What he is doing now will be looked at 20 years from now and held in the same regard as Dr. King and others that had the courage to blaze a path and demand they be treated equally and not less than simply because of who they are and how god made them. I am proud of Michael Sam. He embodies everything a person should strive to be. He could have taken the easy way out and kept who he is hidden from the world until his playing career was over. I do not know his reasons or why he decided to be open about his sexual orientation, but I can tell you the NFL is a better league and we are all better fans because he decided to do so.
The point of this article is short and concise: Michael Sam is a hero, but sadly, like most heroes, he will go unappreciated and even taken for granted in his own time. He will live through unspeakable bigotry and ignorance until his career is over and thereafter. But like every hero worthy of the title, he will persevere. Not because he has to, or because he owes it to the gay community to be a pioneer for a cause; he’ll persevere because he has character, because the same courage that allowed him to tell the world who he is will also allow him to show the world he’s more than a gay man or a an NFL football player. He’ll show the world that he is simply a man who is as god made him.