This announcement is momentous. No active player in any of the of the major four American sports has been revealed to be homosexual and Michael Sam could possibly be the first. The reaction, surprisingly, was positive from him teammates (who knew he was gay at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season), to current NFL players, even the First Lady of the United States.
I don't think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet," said an NFL player personnel 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-man game. - NFL Exec in SI articleYahoo Sports dropped Sam, 70 spots in their latest NFL draft board, not because he is a homosexual man, but because the media circus that will accompany him anywhere he goes. First day of training camp there will be ESPN and The Today Show. There will be Fox Sports and Logo. Undoubtedly, he brings more cameras and questions -- that something a lot of teams are just not prepared for.
I disagree with that anonymous NFL exec however. I think NFL is ready for a gay player. The league is full of young, educated men, despite what your stereotypes about them may be. Now more than ever, gay men and women are accepted in society. It seems like every day another state legalizes gay marriage on the backs of young, open-minded voters. Not to say Michael Sam won't have hit challenges. He will be faced with bigots. He will hear the slurs, from the stands, on Twitter and the gridiron. However he is mentally tough enough to handle it. He played this entire season with his teammates knowing he was gay, in an SEC locker room in the middle of the Bible Belt, if that's not tough I do not know what is.
Some people have argued that Sam did not have to come out, they ask "Why did he come out at all?" "Is he seeking attention?" Rumors of his sexuality were swirling around the NCAA Senior Bowl. It was only a matter of time before scouts and coaches started inundating him with questions and accusations. This is how you control a story. You get out in front of it, and control the subsequent media storm. It's smart, not only for his personal well-being, but good for the team drafting him. The franchise will know exactly what they are getting into and, in the end he opened a much-needed dialogue that will surely break barriers.