Why You Can’t Call The NFL Homophobic if Michael Sam Doesn’t Get Drafted This Weekend
Michael Sam helped change sports culture when he came out February and became the first openly gay NFL prospect. His courage has moved a lot of people regardless if you follow football or not.
With that being said their is a strong chance that Sam will not be drafted this weekend.
If this does happen many people (mostly those who do not watch football) will swear that the NFL is homophobic. Before you do try and look at it from purely a football prospective.
Michael Sam is not a very good athlete, at least not for NFL standards.
Standing at 6′ 2″ and weighing 260 lbs Sam is what NFL scouts call a “tweener”, which means he is too small to play defensive end yet too slow to play linebacker.
There where plenty of questions about his size before he came out of the closet, but his athletic deficiencies came out during the NFL Combine in March. Check out the video of his combine below.
Now to be fair Sam’s numbers did improve at his pro day about a month later but it wasn’t enough to really change the views of NFL scouts.
As a matter of fact, when scouts where asked recently about where they would draft Sam, some said that they wouldn’t even sign him as a free agent.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
The reason you don’t hear much about Sam anymore a few days before the draft is this is the time for real players. Based on discussions over the last month about Sam’s capability as a player with about two dozen NFL executives in personnel, he’s regarded almost as a non-entity.
The Journal Sentinel polled 21 scouts with national responsibilities asking what round, if any, they would be comfortable selecting Sam.
Three said fifth round. Three said sixth round. Three said seventh round. Five said they would sign him as a free agent. Seven said they wouldn’t sign him as a free agent.
Now people will wonder how it’s possible that a SEC Co-Defensive Player of The Year go undrafted? Well it’s simple, college awards don’t mean anything in the NFL.
Don’t believe me? Well then take the biggest award in all of college sports for example, The Heisman.
According to NFL.com, out of the 77 people who have won The Heisman, 15 players went undrafted in the NFL and, and 14 never played in a NFL game.
Now the silver lining in all this. If Sam does not get drafted it does not mean he can not have a successful NFL career. People get slept on all the time in the NFL draft. Look at Tom Brady, who got drafted in the sixth round and is now a multiple time world champion and one of the faces of the NFL. Brady is only one example of many who have over came their draft position and made a name for themselves in the NFL.
If Sam has the grit and determination that everyone says he has, a team will take a shot on him. After that it is up to him to work his ass off to prove everyone wrong.
Their are many who believe the belief that Sam not getting drafted is a sign of homophobia within the NFL. Should the NFL then force a team to draft Sam just to keep the media at bay?
To me that defeats the whole purpose of equality.
If Sam was a star player with first round talent and did not get drafted then I would join the masses in calling out the NFL, but in this case Sam does not show anything that separates him from the rest of the pack.
If we want to get to a place where gay players are seen as just players then we must take the step to allow them to be scrutinized as such.
Source: NFL.com, ESPN, CBS Sports