Rob Long: Uncharted Territory Worth Talking About
With all of the talk about Michael Sam and his announcement, more and more people are trying to convince you that this should not be a big deal. Some are saying it could not matter what a man’s sexual orientation is. We are all supposed to just act as if there is nothing out of the ordinary and life is supposed to go on as normal.
That’s not true. This is uncharted territory for men’s major professional sports. Are there gay men in those professional leagues? Yes, but name them. You may speculate and falsely in some instances, but name the ones who’ve admitted to being gay and who are currently on someone’s roster. That list does not exist so this is a topic of discussion and rightfully so. Do not tell me, or others, that we are supposed to act as if this isn’t worth talking about.
Tell me that when Michael Sam’s pre-draft experience goes without the topic being brought up but current and/or potential players and teammates. Tell me that when Sam enters an NFL stadium and does not hear any references of his sexuality uttered. Tell me that when he does interviews throughout his rookie year and the topic never comes up. Tell me that when he’s more popular than the first or second round draft pick on the team that drafts him gets less attention than Sam.
The truth is, Michael Sam’s announcement shouldn’t be a big deal but when you are the first, you are a pretty big deal. Are you courageous? Yes. Are you a pioneer? Yes. You are also the topic of discussion. This is not about whether you agree with someone’s lifestyle. This is about everyone getting a fair chance. The world will be watching Sam and how he handles himself throughout this process. If you think it isn’t a big deal, tell that to the male pro athletes who are still afraid to make the same announcement Sam made.