Now that Michael Sam is out as gay, the question becomes how will NFL teams respond this May in the 2014 NFL Draft?
New York Giants' co-owner Steve Tisch quickly backed Sam:
"Michael Sam is a gifted athlete and a courageous man," Tisch told TMZ. "I hope any NFL team would not hesitate to draft Michael if he right for their team."
Sam is ranked No. 128 on the Mocking The Draft Big Board, and before this announcement was likely in the conversation for many teams somewhere between the third to fifth round of the draft. A huge part of the story going forward will be whether or not this negatively impacts his draft stock, as you might think it almost certainly will -- unfortunately -- with at least some teams.
Personally, I give Sam credit for pre-emptively coming out. I have to digress a moment to credit Outsports.com, part of the SB Nation family of web sites, for its coverage of the story and its involvement in Sam's announcement. Outsports is the industry leader in covering gay athletes, and if you haven't read the behind-the-scenes story of Outsports involvement in Sam's coming out you should do so.
Let's put aside the fact that at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds Sam is likely not a true defensive end, probably more likely a 3-4 outside linebacker. Would you have a problem with the Giants drafting Sam, or any other player who was openly gay?
I am going to start the debate by saying I would have absolutely none. Zero. Sam will hardly be the league's first gay player -- just the first one to admit it. Shame on teams that don't want to deal with him, or players who might have a problem with him.
One word of warning. As you debate this I will be watching the tone of the comments. This is not the place to make crude or derogatory comments about sexual orientation.
Column: Michael Sam bravely comes out. Now what? - The Washington Post
Burwell: Sam's 'secret' was not a secret at all : Sports
Inside Slant: Michael Sam's timing - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN
Michael Sam announces he's gay as NFL Draft nears - chicagotribune.com
D'Alessandro: Michael Sam comes out. Can the NFL handle it? | NJ.com
NFL says it's ready for openly gay player, but Michael Sam's draft position will say it all - NY Daily News