Draft hopes dimmed by coming out of the closet?

You have no doubt heard that news that the SEC’s defensive player of the year has come out of the closet. This revelation could potentially make Missouri’s Michael Sam the first openly gay player in the NFL. But first, he has to get drafted. That is why one particular report caught my eye today. It says that Sam’s draft prospects are dimmed by his revelation. NBC Sports reports:

Sam publicly announced that he is homosexual, putting the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year in position to be the first openly gay player in the NFL after May’s draft. Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans of SI.com spoke to eight NFL executives and coaches, none willing to put his or her name to their opinion of a man revealing part of his identity, on Sunday to find out how Sam’s choice to take that on will affect his position in the draft.

Because Sam had come out to his teammates already, one person Thamel and Evans spoke to said that 90 percent of teams already knew and had dropped Sam on their draft boards as a result. Others said that the NFL would be ready for an openly gay player “in the coming decade or two” and that being openly gay would “break a tie” with another player going before Sam. An NFL assistant said Sam’s move was not a smart one.

Read the rest here.

27 Responses to Draft hopes dimmed by coming out of the closet?

  1. Ian Shaw February 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m waiting to use my measured response until someone else gets this going. Might not exactly be what some Christ-followers want to hear 🙂

  2. Joel Chamberlin February 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    My question is what will the fallout be if he goes undrafted? A certain segment of society will not take it well and I would not be surprised if for the first time ever you see activists try to force him into the NFL via a lawsuit because of sexual orientation discrimination if he is not drafted. It would not be out of character for GLAAD or other groups to do something along those lines.

    • buddyglass February 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      I highly doubt it would be actionable, and I suspect GLAAD’s lawyers are smart enough to realize that. I mean, they’d certainly want to sue the NFL but I think they’d realize that doing so would be fruitless.

    • Jason Kates February 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      He won’t go undrafted. He probably won’t go in the 1st or 2nd round, but he’s a good player.

    • Aaron Ginn February 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Someone will draft him. He can play and help a team, plus there are several owners who would like history to remember them as the next Branch Rickey. I think this HELPS his draft status.

      • Denny Burk February 12, 2014 at 7:37 am #

        You may very well be right about that.

  3. Jason Kates February 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    I think the NFL will handle this just fine. I don’t think his draft stock will be harmed significantly. This is 2014. Homosexuality is more than accepted, it’s applauded. The media will hype some anonymous sources that have “concern” or worry about NFL “culture,” conveniently forgetting that this culture cares more about winning football games than DUIs, steroids, sexual assaults, etc. The Missouri program, full of immature kids, handled this news without missing a beat. I don’t think an NFL team will care much beyond ensuring it isn’t a major distraction.

  4. Ian Shaw February 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    The issue is that the NFL is full of immature adults. Tried and true. Many if not the majority of the players are immature. I’ll say that it will be a lot easier for him if he’s on a winning team than one that is not.

    • Andrew Orlovsky February 11, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      The problem is that generally the media cannot distinguish these immature adults from people who disapprove of homosexuality on Biblical grounds. I am sure that the moment a gay athlete faces any kind of lockeroom bullying, the media will jump to blame it on overly-religious environment within the team, even though the players doing the bullying would much more likely to frequent strip clubs than Bible Studies.

  5. buddyglass February 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    I’m not sure I understand the “why” of this post. Most of what’s posted on Denny’s blog comes with a fairly clear clear point of view, e.g. “{X} is happening and that’s a bad thing” or “{X} is happening and that’s a good thing.” That’s fine; that’s what blogs are for.

    Given that, though, I’m not sure how to take this post. Is intended to express disapproval that Sam’s draft stock may be hurt by his coming out? Or to express approval instead? To act as a cautionary tale to other closeted players who may be considering coming out? Or is it just an interesting news nugget passed along by a SEC football fan?

    • Jason Kates February 10, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

      It’s of major cultural significance. Football is our biggest and most popular sport. Homosexuality is a growing hot-button/political/Christian topic, as I know you are aware. The combination of the two is newsworthy.

  6. Esther O'Reilly February 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m pretty sure Denny agrees with the majority of the NFL on this.

    • buddyglass February 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      If Sams stock has been discounted then I suspect it was for pragmatic reasons rather than a desire to “punish” him for being gay or signal moral disapproval.

      These guys are in the business of enriching themselves. For the most part that goal is best served by success on the field, but player intangibles can also affect an organization’s bottom line. If a guy is a great football player but an inveterate racist then his presence on the team might not be as lucrative as it might otherwise be. If the fans hate him and hold the organization accountable for keeping him around they may buy fewer tickets, less merchandise, etc. So, some of that may be going into the owner’s calculations w.r.t. Sams. Or, they may worry that his presence will negatively impact the rest of the team’s performance. Though, that concern seems kind of baseless given Mizzou’s success on the field.

      What’s your take on what NFL owners are thinking that Denny purportedly affirms?

    • James Bradshaw February 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

      Why’s that, Esther? Is it the official Christian position that employers and coaches are morally obliged to NOT hire gay men and women, regardless of the position in question?

      Is there a concern that this player will sexually assault other men in the showers? If so, why has it not been an issue thus far (given the fact that his current team has known for some time)?

      • Esther O'Reilly February 11, 2014 at 10:12 am #

        buddy and James, I don’t know if you guys have ever played male team sports, but I think it should be clear why players and coaches would be concerned. Whether or not they have a Christian worldview, they’re not dumb bunnies. It’s the same reason why a co-ed military is such a disaster. Male bonding is so effective precisely because it’s asexual. For one or more links in that chain to be sexually attracted to the others throws the team dynamic out of whack. As one NFL player said, he would simply not feel comfortable about showering next to a gay player. Sexual “assault” is needlessly exaggerated—regardless, it’s not appropriate. A football team cultivates a tight physical bond among its members. These men deserve their privacy and the ability to share locker rooms and physical contact with men who do not sexually desire them.

        • buddyglass February 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

          Has the Mizzou team been negatively affected?

        • James Stanton February 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

          “It’s the same reason why a co-ed military is such a disaster.”

          I’m sorry but this is a case of reality being different from what you expect it to be based on your worldview. I am serving in this “co-ed military” and there’s not much evidence that it has been a disaster other than wishful thinking. You are just simply wrong. The reason gays openly serving in the military has not been a problem is because it is more or less irrelevant to job performance. We are professionals and not children. I suspect it would not be much different in football. Once the stigma is over with it becomes all about whether the person next to you on the offensive line or in the trenches can do the job. This also has nothing to do with being a Christian. Hold on to your religious beliefs but when on the job your duty is to accomplish the mission regardless of the sexual orientation of your colleagues.

        • Nell Parker February 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

          My guess is that there have always been homosexual players in the NFL.

  7. Muff Potter February 11, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    If I were a team owner, my head coach and I would jump at the chance to sign this young man. He has leadership written all over him and the skills necessary to help forge and craft a deadly defense, mayhap even no. 1 in the league. His sexual orientation would NOT be one of our concerns.

  8. Frank Franklin February 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    I tend to agree that his sexual preference should not be an issue in the NFL unless he does something inappropriate. It might be an issue for him as others have said. The immaturity of the players may make his road tough.

    I think the military is a good example of teamwork despite differences.

  9. Curt Day February 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    the real issue isn’t when he will be drafted, the real issue is what does he make of the chances he gets to play football. Personally, I wouldn’t play pro football if I could simply because I think we have outgrown the game. The players are too fast, too strong, and sometimes too aggressive to play the game for a while with realistic hopes that one will not be crippled in one way or another after one retires.

    BTW, I just don’t know why this blogpost about this man is here. There have been gay football players before, they just didn’t come out of the closet. That shows that it really should not be an issue.

    • Esther O'Reilly February 11, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      No, it doesn’t. Violation of privacy is still violation of privacy whether or not the victim is aware of what’s going on. But hey, while we’re at it, why don’t we just collapse separate bathrooms for men and women?

      • Curt Day February 12, 2014 at 9:22 am #

        Not sure of your point. Whose privacy will be or has been violated in your opinion?

        • Esther O'Reilly February 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

          I can’t believe I need to spell it out in even more detail: The privacy of every single player who must share a locker room, shower area, and other close quarters with this player, where men are walking around in various states of undress.

  10. Ian Shaw February 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    I didn’t know publically declaring your sexual orientation is a prerequisite for having leadership qualities. He hasn’t played a second of NFL player yet.

  11. Ian Shaw February 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    *second of NFL football yet*


  1. Michael Sam – First Openly Gay NFL Player? | Alex Chediak - February 10, 2014

    […] HT: Denny Burk […]

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