Sam: “I Am”

Over the weekend, Missouri All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam “stated publicly what his teammates and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: ‘I am an openly, proud gay man.'” And with that, Sam will soon become the NFL’s first active openly gay player. Here’s the behind the scenes story of how NFL prospect Michael Sam came out: The Eagle Has Landed.

+ “I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet. 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. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.” That’s an NFL player personnel assistant giving you an idea of how far behind the times some people still are. A decade or two? Thankfully, Michael Sam has helped to move the timetable up a bit. But you can bet his courage will cost him in some ways. According to CBS’ NFL Draft Prospect Board, Michael Sam has already fallen 70 spots.

+ Is the NFL ready? Here’s one answer from The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Powerful interests are rarely ready for change, so much as they are assaulted by it. We refer to barriers being broken for a reason.

+ NYT’s Frank Bruni: “A news flash for every straight man out there: You’ve been naked in front of a gay man.”

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