Less than two weeks ago, the NFL held its draft. The draft period is the most hopeful time of the year. Some teams are hoping to pick up the right players to turn their fortunes around, while other teams are hoping that their choices put them over the top in winning a championship. The players drafted are hoping to become stars in the NFL. One hopeful player is Michael Sam. Sam is the first openly gay male athlete drafted in professional sports.
When Sam got drafted, he did what every player drafted did-he hugged and kissed his significant other. Of course, his significant other was also a man, and people aren’t used to seeing that on television, even though we are in the year 2014, not 1914.
People started going crazy after that kiss! Exclamations of “How can you show that on television?” and “How can this be shown to our kids?” flew left and right. One would think Sam cut the guy’s head off!
The Oprah Winfrey Network announced it was doing a reality series based on Sam. Many started talking about how this would be distracting. They also claim that a seventh round draft pick shouldn’t have this much attention. Well, there are cameras surrounding NFL teams. Have you heard of a thing called Hard Knocks or NFL Films? Also, we all know this is not an ordinary seventh round pick. The network later announced they would postpone filming.
It is curious to see how some behavior is accepted while another is not.
Michael Sam is gay, and everyone worried about how his lifestyle would affect his team. Josh Gordon just tested positive for marijuana and faces a season-long suspension. His decision cost the Cleveland Browns the services of their best wide receiver after they drafted a quarterback who could make them relevant. What does the NFL react to Gordon? Reports are that there will be more lenient penalties for testing positive for marijuana.
Ray Rice was arrested and indicted earlier this year on a domestic abuse charge. The incident was even caught on tape. The Ravens say they would let the league handle the situation, and Rice is allowed to participate in all Ravens offseason activities. Joe Flacco went so far as to say he doesn’t even expect Rice to be suspended.
Last season, Vonn Miller of the Denver Broncos tested positive on a drug test. He was going to be suspended four games before the NFL discovered that Miller and the urine collector conspired to use another person’s urine to avoid the positive test. Miller’s suspension was increased to six games. He was welcomed back with open arms and helped the Broncos get to the Super Bowl (though they lost).
Aaron Hernandez was known to have problems before he stepped foot in New England. He got into incidents while at Florida. His stock dropped in the 2010 draft, but he was chosen in the fourth round. He played and was loved by Patriots Nation until his alleged actions caught up to him last year with his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Where was the concern for the kids during the cases presented above? Is it easier to explain to kids that someone beat another person, but was welcomed back with open arms? Or that a player took drugs, or tried to cheat to avoid getting caught? How about ignoring a player’s bad actions until they couldn’t ignore them any longer?
Off the field, people say that Michael Sam is an outstanding person. He’s never been in trouble and is respected by his teammates. Because of who he sleeps with, however, people are concerned about the problems THAT may cause? Let’s stop the hypocrisy please!