What NFL ‘equality’ should mean

Published 8:11 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NFL history was changed forever last weekend when the first openly gay player was drafted. His name is Michael Sam, the former defensive end for the Missouri Tigers and a new member of the St. Louis Rams.
Congratulations to him, his family and friends. It says a lot about the National Football League that an openly gay player can be drafted in an unprejudiced, equal manner to that of everyone else. I believe anyone and everyone who is talented, dedicated and strong enough to play at the level of the pros deserves a spot on any NFL roster, regardless of sexual orientation, skin color, religion or whatever else you can classify someone under.
They deserve a spot, and there should be no argument or extra-attention outside of their skills as a ball player. That’s true equality.
But the attention surrounding Sam isn’t what I would call equal. He’s gay. Wonderful. Kudos to him for coming out when he did. One of my good friends in college came out as gay and I understand how nerve-racking it can be.
What I don’t understand is the media whirlwind Sam has found himself in because of his sexual orientation. He’s a gay player, and he made history, but that has almost nothing to do with him as a football player. Why the extra-attention? If we are working toward an equal society, highlighting the fact that someone is gay totally defeats that mission, in the context of the NFL and everyday life.
If the LGBT community wants to win the fight for equalization, then we shouldn’t point our cameras and microphones every time someone who lives that lifestyle makes an achievement. It insinuates they are separate from the rest of us.
Sam was the 249th pick in the draft. Are we treating him like every other 249th pick that’s come for years before him? Not even close. Again, I think it’s amazing that this young man has made history. But that’s a separate story we’ve already heard. Now let’s move on.
He’s gay.
I like hot sauce on my eggs; the guy down the street from me collects stamps. We’re all humans on this earth — going to work, paying bills and loving football.

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