Here Are 5 Important Reasons That Michael Sam Matters
University of Missouri defensive end, Michael Sam, announced to his teammates last fall that he was gay. Sam went on to become the co-SEC defensive player of the year and a First Team All-American. Most of the world is finding out Michael Sam is openly gay today, and, as expected, the responses have been mind-blowingly antiquated. I can come off condescending at times and for that I apologize, but some of the things that are being said are remarkable and serve as a stark reminder that the uninformed are amongst us all. The haters on Sam and/or the story seem to fall into at least one of five camps which I have listed in terms of their absurdity (from most to least) and will briefly address.
God Didn’t Want This
However, God is for you hating on other people different from you via internet trolling. Is God down with premarital sex? Because I know a bunch of NFL players who have been engaging in that sin. I’m all for religion though I am not religious; however, you can’t pick and choose which parts of your religion to apply to fit your agenda. Well you can, but that would make you a hypocrite. Which brings me to….
Who Cares About Michael Sam?
You do. You cared enough to email, tweet, or reply on Facebook. There is a particularly visceral reaction from those of you claiming to not care. It’s why you attribute an ulterior motive (money) behind, or minimize the importance of his announcement. The bottom line is a lot of people have been affected by, or have an opinion on this topic, which is why you took the time to comment in the first place.
It’s Nobody’s Business
It’s everybody’s business. If this weren’t everybody’s business, we would neither need to have hate crime protection laws for gays nor would we be battling over whether gays are worthy enough citizens to have the state recognize their ability to participate in marriage. What if we talked about race and gender in terms of it being no one’s business, essentially muting people on the issues that affect them in their everyday lives? If it weren’t everybody’s business, we wouldn’t need protections for minorities at all. Hate, prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance (any abuse of civil liberties) are combated with dialogue, not silence.
Tired of Stories Like This
People who have never endured discrimination are often tired of stories like this. Michael Sam is moving the conversation forward. This is a first, and forces people to reconcile (or not) rigid religious doctrine with true acceptance of other people’s lifestyle choices. People who are not tired of stories like this are people who have lost jobs or had to live in fear that their sexuality would ruin their lives.
Awkwardness in the Locker Room
If you played high school, college, or at a professional level, you showered with gay people. To my knowledge, there are no straight only gyms. You have been interacting with gay people for years in both locker rooms and showers. How different is your life? As far as locker room cohesiveness is concerned, Missouri was 5-7 two years ago. Michael Sam announced he was gay, and they went 12-2. I’m not saying that the improvement was because of the announcement, but it certainly can’t be used as evidence of a distraction.