Former Missouri defensive end and Co-Defensive Player of the Year from the SEC, Michael Sam, announced back in February that he was gay. On Saturday, Sam became the first openly gay athlete drafted into the NFL. The video that was shown when he was received the call from the St Louis Rams about their selection showed him kissing and hugging his boyfriend. Needless to say people’s reactions were mixed.
Former running back for the New York Giants, Derrick Ward, voiced his displeasure with the video on Twitter saying “Man [you] got little kids [looking] at the draft. I can’t believe ESPN even allowed that to happen.” Ward has received numerous death threats and various verbal attacks over social media.
Then there was Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones was fined and excused from team activities until he under goes educational training, after Jones twitted the word “horrible” when asked about the video by a follower.
Both Ward and Jones have received public backlash from their post but does the punishment fit the (so called) crime… I don’t think so. Everyone who missed the NFL draft Saturday afternoon didn’t miss the main attraction. The sports outlets ESPN and NFL Network played the celebration of Sam and his boyfriend countless times.
That’s a hard pill to swallow for many religious football fans. Is it fair to continually flash that image in their faces?
Sam, to his credit, has tried to deflect the attention of his sexual preference and have the media focus solely on Michael Sam the football player. Will he get his wish; of course not!
The NFL, much like the marijuana issue, cannot be on the fence. The problem might be the loss of a group that patronizes its product, Is that a risk they are will to take? We’ll have to wait and see.