The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

NFL organizations likely distracted by defensive end’s gay announcement

Former Missouri defensive end and co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam recently made headlines nationwide when he announced he was gay in an ESPN “Outside the Lines” interview.  Since the NFL Draft hopeful made his announcement, the media world has been abuzz about whether or not Sam’s revelation will affect his stock. 

After a season in which Sam led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss on a Missouri team that made its first appearance in the SEC Championship, many experts have him pegged as a mid-round pick. 

ESPN Scouts Inc. rates him as the 12th-best outside rushing prospect in the 2014 draft.

With outstanding stats like these, one would assume NFL teams would salivate at the opportunity for such a disruptive force on the D-Line, especially in the pass-happy league that the NFL is becoming. 

However, after such an announcement many team executives and GMs may be scared away.

There is no doubt a gay player in the league could be a great thing for the culture of the NFL, but how many teams are going to be willing to break down the barriers of that homophobic culture? 

A recent survey of eight anonymous NFL execs and coaches conducted by suggests not many.

In said poll, the coaches and execs felt Sam’s announcement would greatly affect his draft stock.

“I don’t think football is ready for an openly gay player just yet,” said an NFL personnel player 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 game.”

One must realize an NFL team is much more than just an assortment of players from the nation’s best colleges and universities — it is a job, an organization and a business. 

At any job the last thing the manager — in this instance the head coach — wants is anything to derail the workers from putting forth their best possible efforts.

Sam would bring a hard-working, high character player to whatever city and team decides to draft him, but he would also bring a media circus to rival the likes of the Richie Incognito scandal or Riley Cooper’s racial slur in all their infamy.

He’d bring a sense of discomfort to a setting where gay slurs are tossed as casually as a football in pre-game warm ups. It could potentially negatively alter the entire dynamic of whatever franchise’s locker room in which Sam finds himself. 

In short, it would be a huge distraction, something that any team hoping for a run at the coveted Lombardi Trophy would desperately try to avoid.

Sam has shown he would be a terrific asset to any team that decides to pick him up on draft day. 

There are plenty of teams that, regardless of his announcement, would be glad to make him an addition to their team while managing the attention that he carries into the franchise with him.

The New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick have proved their ability to handle the extra attention with the short-lived acquisition of Tim Tebow. 

Their handling of Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinoco, two of football’s biggest “divas,” is also evidence they would be able to handle such a situation.

The Philadelphia Eagles did a spectacular job of managing the “Riley Cooper Situation” en-route to a trip to the playoffs.  Also, with a defense that ranked 29th in the league last year, the extra help of Sam should be welcomed by the front office in Philly. 

Whoever drafts him will most certainly have their hands full as they bear the title of the “first NFL team to draft an openly gay player.” It is this very fact that scares NFL executives away from a courageous, high-character talent and what could be a potentially great player. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
NFL organizations likely distracted by defensive end’s gay announcement