As defensive lineman for The University of Missouri, Michael Sam in a courageous move came out as gay. He told the New York Times “I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.”
Many speculated on rather Sam’s sexual orientation would hurt him or give him an advantage in the NFL Draft. He made history on Saturday by becoming the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL when the St. Louis Rams made him the 249th overall choice.
One would think that congratulations would be in order but then the picture and videos of “The Kiss” started circulating on social media.
Those that have accepted and applauded Sam’s decision to come out in a predominantly hetero and male sport, either swooned over the picture because it really was a Hallmark like moment, or kept it moving because why wouldn’t this gay man have and kiss his boyfriend?
With anything done in the public eye haters will hate and bigots will bigot. The predictable reactions hit Twitter in 140 characters of ignorance.
Don Jones a Black player for the Miami Dolphins took to Twitter to post disapproving comments regarding Sam’s kiss. The tweets have since been deleted however Jones has been fined and excused from off season workouts by the Dolphins until he undergoes and completes educational training. One would think that Sam being Black would garner support from his colleague.
Not surprisingly, Jones had his supporters. “So now instead of Don Jones and Michael Sam being equal, Jones is being treated like a criminal for having an opinion. THATS NOT EQUALITY!” Okay, “criminal” is a tad bit extreme and as with any coworker on any job a certain amount of sensitivity and tolerance has to be expected.
The question of how the Sam’s kiss could be explained to children came up. Tweeters even went so far as to blame the NFL for inviting that into their homes. If a kiss between 2 men has to be explained, I wonder what other lessons in tolerance must be taught.
Then there was this comment “Why was Michael Sam praised for being gay but Tim Tebow publicly beheaded for being a Christian?” I’ll leave that one alone.
Greg Henson asks “Am I the only one who thinks the Michael Sam situation is nothing more than a huge PR stunt?” In the midst of the bigotry and hate surrounding Sam in his self-titled blog, Henson makes a thought provoking point. He states “Maybe I’m jaded but I think Sam’s “coming out” was nothing more than a stunt to ensure he would be drafted. Remember on Friday the gay activists organizations were saying “if he isn’t drafted, it is a problem.” What kind of threat is that, when did these organizations ever care about a guy being drafted in the past, they didn’t…it’s an agenda.” That was not the first time the question was posed and it probably won’t be the last.
Was Sam discriminated against on social media? Not at all. He received equal amounts of the hate and bigotry reserved for all marginalized groups of people.
One kiss has sparked days of outrage. The video and pictures will continue to circulate and despite so much support and the positive comments even more hate will be spewed. Speculation as to why Michael Sam was even drafted will probably never end.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how harsh or seemingly wrong. It would be nice if we could all get back to worrying about ourselves. Unfortunately, the comments slurs and tactless jokes come with the territory of being Black, gay, and in the public eye.