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“I am an openly, proud gay man.”

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Wow.

Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri Tigers and the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said that he is gay in interviews with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and the New York Times on Sunday.

Sam stated publicly what his teammates and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May. Assuming that he is drafted, Sam could become the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.

“I understand how big this is,” he said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”

What happens next is going to be fascinating. Sam is not quite an elite draft prospect. According to the linked piece, he’s the 12th rated outside pass rusher, which I assume would make him a mid-round pick. If he’s not drafted, we will know why. Perhaps the most underreported sports story in the last year is what happened to Kerry Rhodes. The excellent safety was blackballed from the NFL this year after he was outed by a magazine who had pictures of him and a boyfriend at a resort. He couldn’t get a bite. Think of the terrible pass defense in the NFL. Rhodes is a well above-average player. And he could barely get a workout.

And then think about the Richie Incognito bullying of Jonathan Martin. Think of the stupid things NFL players still say publicly about gays, such as the Panthers’ Steve Smith when asked about Rhodes. And then we all know how much NFL owners, coaches, and GMs hate a spectacle. Chris Kluwe couldn’t get a tryout this year either, even though he’s a reasonably average punter and he was allegedly driven out by a homophobic special teams coach and management indifferent to this behavior while hostile to Kluwe’s own soapbox.

So let’s see what happens. It’s probably going to take the right kind of coach (say, Pete Carroll perhaps) who has generated a locker room atmosphere that is more accepting than, oh I don’t know, the Dolphins. If Sam isn’t drafted, it’s going to be a disgusting shame.

(PC): It’s noteworthy that the seven previous SEC defensive players of the year were all first round draft choices. Of course being a great college player doesn’t guarantee that someone is necessarily a top pro prospect, but the SEC is by far the best conference in college football, and it seems odd that the conference’s top defensive player would slip all the way to the last couple of rounds, let alone go undrafted. The story NFL scouts were giving out before Sam’s announcement is that he’s not big enough to be an NFL DE and not fast enough to be an OLB. There’s some reason for suspicion though, as apparently Sam’s orientation was an open secret in Columbia and was therefore known to NFL teams prior to his announcement, so the existing pre-draft evals were probably already reflecting the league’s prejudices.

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  • wjts

    Sam is not quite an elite draft prospect.

    I don’t follow the college game at all, so the draft is largely a mystery to me. Had Sam not come out, would he be more-or-less a lock for a mid-round draft pick? Or alternatively, were prior prospective draftees of comparable ability passed over in previous years?

    • That evaluation was before he came out. I think he falls in the tweener category between defensive end and outside linebacker, which is not uncommon for elite college pass rushers. So one assumes a lock, but people do rise and fall depending on the combine, individual workouts, the standardized test deal they give out, etc. So sure, people have definitely fallen from a potential 4th round pick at the end of the season to undrafted.

      • Larry

        He’s 6’2″, 225 lbs. He very well may not be big enough to be a top NFL lineman or linebacker. But he’s still very draftable for at least special teams where he’d be given a chance to prove himself there and elsewhere.

        I found a list of NFL defensive ends, checked the first 16 or so, and there were three 6’2″ but they weighed upwards of 250 lbs. The rest were even huger, 270s to 320s. Offensive tackles, who often block defensive ends, are that and bigger.

        But this, from 2010 – http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2010/mar/09/undersized-defensive-ends-growing-nfl-coaches/

        The Missouri team showed it can be done. NFL players should want to be able to accept him too if a college team did. I think any NFL player against playing alongside gay men are afraid of being seen tending toward an erection in the locker room. As in the Seinfeld parlance, they’re afraid ‘it could move’.

        • Armadillo

          I haven’t seen him listed at less than 255lbs, most sites put him at 260. That’s absolutely normal size for a LB. It’s also larger than reigning NFL defensive player of the year Robert Mathis, who plays DE. There are other DE of Mathis’ & Sam’s size, but they are more the exception, or sub-rushers. Sam appears to have a valuable skill – pass rushing – and that will probably ensure that he is drafted at some point.

      • rea

        That evaluation was before he came out.

        It was no secret that he was gay. He came out to his coaches and teammates at Missouri last August, and as he’s said in several interviews, it came as no surprise to them. I suspect he’s better off being openly out than closeted, but widely known to be gay. As matters stand now, if he doesn’t get drafted in the middle rounds, there will be an uproar.

  • Armadillo

    You should revise to “pass defense” or “safety play” when discussing Kerry Rhodes’ situation. Terrible pass protection refers to the play of offensive tackles, offensive line, and possibly TEs and RBs.

    • Yes, that’s obviously what I meant.

      • Armadillo

        Saw you made the revision just now. I agree with your point and agree that what happened to Rhodes was awful. Just felt you were leaving yourself open to “this guy doesn’t even know the difference between pass defense and pass protection.”

        As with Jonathan Martin, a host of NFL tough guys have crawled out from under rocks to boldly and anonymously criticize Sam.

        It will probably hurt him to some degree, but given the premium on pass rushers, I have to think that someone will spend a draft pick on him. Hopefully the Pats (my team) will pick him up as an OLB.

        You have a great blog here, although I don’t come by nearly often enough.

        • Armadillo

          And I completely fucked up that link.

          • Ahuitzotl

            in the finest LGM traditions

        • “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. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

          “man’s-man”, of course.

          “chemically imbalance”, because gay men secrete queeromones that antagonize testosterone and make players second-guess their willingness to potentially maim or kill the opposing team.

          • Queeromones.

            That made my day.

            But seriously, who ever made that statement needs his ass fired.

          • rea

            “Man’s man.” Huh. What could be more gay than that?

        • efgoldman

          I think Foxboro is one of the places where they could bring him in with a minimum of internal locker room hassles.

          • Ni

            If so why was Steve Gregory playing over Kerry Rhodes?

            • Armadillo

              As a Pats fan, I would like to agree with efgoldman. Rob Gronkowski has made public comments saying he would be accepting of a gay teammate. Admittedly, Gronkowski is not an official team spokesman (although it would be a lot more entertaining if he was). Belichick has shown an ability to control media circuses (c.f. Tebow, Tim). And the Pats’ pass rush is somewhere between anemic and on life support. So I think it would be a good fit.

              As to why Gregory was playing over Kerry Rhodes, I don’t know. Wish I did.

              • Armadillo

                Looking at it some more, the response could be that Rhodes is a free safety, where the Pats are already covered with Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon. That said, Gregory is/was more of a Free Safety playing out of position at Strong, and Rhodes > Gregory. So in summary, I have no idea. There’s just something about Gregory. His scrappy grittiness. He’s like a coach on the field!

          • But he really does not fit what the Patriots want to draft/sign as either an outside linebacker or a sub-package defensive end. Sam does not have the freakish atheletic ability for his size as an OLB (see Collins as a linebacker with safety speed or Hightower as a BIG linebacker with good agility for his size) or the long arms that the Patriots want at defensive end. Maybe he can understudy/back-up Ninkovich jack of all trades, master of sum role, but his physical type does not match what the Patriots have historically drafted.

            • Armadillo

              Mike Reiss, who provides excellent Pats coverage for ESPN (and previously worked for the Pats’ in-house publication) agrees with you, and sadly so do I. Reiss says that the Pats would not be affected by the sexuality/media issues, but that Sam is too short for the Pats, who want their DE/OLB to be around 6’5″. He sees the Pats valuing Sam about like Tully Banta-Cain, a 2003 7th round pick out of Berkley.

              This is probably more depressing for me than the possibility of bigotry. If it was homophobia, you could hope that Belichick could be educated on the issue. Instead, they’ve made a considered football judgment that drafting Shawn Crable and Jake Bequette is the right thing to do. They’re going to keep fucking that chicken.

              So I guess some other team will take him, or the Pats get the extra-value special in the 7th round.

              Huge fan of your work at Balloon Juice, btw.

            • efgoldman

              But he really does not fit what the Patriots want to draft/sign as either an outside linebacker or a sub-package defensive end.

              Ahem.
              1996 Pats 3rd round choice.
              Great pass rushing DE at Arizona.
              6’1″ 250-250 lbs (as a pro)
              Only played linebacker for 14 years, in three winning Super Bowls.
              Ladies and gents, I give you Tedy Bruschi.

        • Larry

          It seems the Patriots could have the maturity and discipline it would take. I noted this above but I think players against playing alongside gay men are afraid it might give them at least a partial erection if they thought they were being ‘watched’.

  • kcr

    It looks as if the NFL is going to use the “distraction” line to justify not drafing him

    This is just like when store owners used to say that they didn’t have anything agaisnt black people, but they had older customers who wouldn’t be comfortable around blacks, so of course they couldn’t hire any.

    • That’s certainly what I fear. It does only take one team though.

    • Joshua

      “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. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

      There aren’t enough facepalms in this world.

      • wjts

        “There are guys in locker rooms that maturity-wise cannot handle it or deal with the thought of that,” the assistant coach said. “There’s nothing more sensitive than the heartbeat of the locker room. If you knowingly bring someone in there with that sexual orientation, how are the other guys going to deal with it?”

        And heaven forfend that we oppress bigots by infringing on their inalienable right to play professional football simply because they are incapable of comporting themselves like adults.

      • Wow. He vomited every excuse ever created to keep gay people from openly serving in like, five seconds flat.

        • They knew this was coming; they’ve been practicing.

      • Hogan

        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.

        So we should capitulate to the bigots for just ten more years. Or so. Because after we’ve enabled them some more, it will definitely stop being a thing.

        • And the fact that he’s been out to his team since the start of the school year stomps the “BUT IT IS TOO DISTRACTING FOOTBALL PLAYERS JUST CAN’T DEAL!!” argument flatter than a pancake.

          • Yep. Look how he destroyed Missouri’s chances of winning any game at all the past college season.

          • efgoldman

            And the fact that he’s been out to his team since the start of the school year stomps the “BUT IT IS TOO DISTRACTING FOOTBALL PLAYERS JUST CAN’T DEAL!!” argument flatter than a pancake.

            Yeah, especially in that noted liberal swamp of Missouri.
            Keeriste!

            • Larry

              Players saying they can’t accept Sam would be shaming themselves since even a college team was more mature than they’d be.

          • Bartleby

            Well, to be fair, it is possibly that Missouri’s players are more mature than (an alarmingly large number of) NFL players.

      • “There are guys in locker rooms that maturity-wise cannot handle it or deal with the thought of that,” the assistant coach said.

        Translation: “football players are big overpaid babies and most coaches’ idea of discipline is to scream louder.”

        • BigHank53

          Well, just keep hitting them in the head. It won’t make them more mature, but having their brains rot will mean they retire earlier.

          Fuck the NFL.

        • witless chum

          Actually, I think the translation is: “Assistant coach has some severe masculinity issues and hides behind his players.”

          • But he isn’t looking at their butts! No siree. Because if a real man’s man should look upon another man’s butt, his testicles will retreat behind his kidneys. Or something.

      • McKingford

        Remember how nobody wanted to draft Manti Teo because of the traveling circus that was going to be? I follow football pretty closely, although it’s possible I missed it: but was there a single mention of his dead/catfish girlfriend this year? Like, a single one?

        The funny thing is that almost all NFL players have shared locker rooms with gay teammates. The single difference here will be that they know it.

      • quercus

        Can someone get a few more of these kinds of quotes, do a little historical research, and let us play “Talking about gay men in the NFL or in the military?”

        Or, maybe better blank out the respective [gay] and [black], and play “Talking about Sam in 2014, or Robinson in 1946?”

      • DrDick

        Oddly enough, he has not been a distraction for the Missouri team, not exactly a place you would expect huge tolerance. I have to say that the fact that he has been out to his teammates all season without incident or apparent problems is a testament to how far we have come on this issue as a society. As others have said, however, it is possibly true that the college players are more mature than the pros.

    • Gary Glitter

      It looks as if the NFL is going to use the “distraction” line to justify not drafing him

      Yes, because if he’s not drafted, the only possible reason is he’s gay.

      • wjts

        It’s not the only possible reason, but given that a number of anonymous sources within the NFL are quoted in the linked article saying that he shouldn’t be drafted because he’s gay, it doesn’t strike me as much of a stretch to suppose that if he doesn’t get drafted it will be because he’s gay.

        • Stupid Liberal

          EQUALITY!!

      • Rob

        Given his talent, if he is not drafted, yes that is pretty much the only reason. He has starter capability and 7th round picks are guys who might not make special teams.

      • Jordan

        So, you are a troll, but building on Paul’s update:

        What year was the last time a SEC (co) defensive player of the year wasn’t drafted? What is the over under there? 20 years?

        • Jordan

          Hmm. It appears the relevant award only goes back to 2003. Still, all of them got drafted.

          So, yes, if he wasn’t drafted, he would be the first SEC co-defensive-player of the year not to.

        • It’s JenBob’s latest handle.

          • Jordan

            Aww fuck. I always try to avoid feeding that asshole, but I’m also not great at the internet and can’t always tell.

          • John (not McCain)

            Interesting that he would pick the name of a famous pedophile. I’m sure that’s just a coinkydink.

        • McKingford

          If he doesn’t get drafted at all, it’ll be terrible, and a shitstorm should fall on Roger Godell because of it. What’s more likely is that he gets drafted 2-3 rounds lower than he otherwise would have.

          The only thing nit I’d pick with the “SEC Defensive POY” thing is that Sam doesn’t quite fit the mold here because he’s a 5 year senior, which is telling. Exceptional defensive players from the best conference usually come out as underclassmen, so he’s likely not an exceptional player. Even before this revelation, he was picked to be a mid-round pick – which already put him sui generis for SEC Defensive POYs.

          • Jordan

            Yeah, and that is all built into him getting a 3-5rd round grade rather than a 2-3.

            If he gets drafted in the 6th or 7th, that gets a stink eye (unless something else comes out at the combine or otherwise), but perhaps – perhaps – is just how things happen.

            If he doesn’t get drafted at all, that is about the best evidence you are going to get that the people running the NFL just are fucking homophobes.

            • Brien Jackson

              From three months out: I think pass rushers in general are going to fall relative to where they’ve been going the past 2-3 years. There’s a lot more QB/WR/TE talent in the first two rounds than there has been for the past two seasons, and the offensive line talent at the top is still pretty good as well. So the “pass rush only” top of prospect is probably going to get pushed back a bit this season, which could leave a tweener/middling prospect like Sam lingering into the late rounds. Of course, all of that could change if he has great workouts.

              • Armadillo

                The best scouting profile of Mr. Sam, courtesy of Matt Waldman.

          • Brien Jackson

            I don’t think he’d fall two or three whole round. Probably not even more than about a full round, tops. Eventually you’re going to run into at least one GM/coach/owner group who aren’t going to be interested in letting a handful of idiots keep them from getting a bargain price on a good pass rushing prospect.

            • drkrick

              He dropped 70 positions (two rounds) on CBS’s projection draft order overnight. Whether they know what the heck they’re talking about is a different question.

      • DrDick

        We all realize he is too old for your tastes.

  • Missouri U’s response on Twitter (which is how I learned of it) caused me to get something in my eye.

    • Barry Freed

      You can’t say that and not link, Shakezula.

      • Yes, I was trying to figure out how to use the Twitter link feature. I will just blog whore a tiny bit. Just this once.

        • Barry Freed

          That’s great, thanks.

        • Jordan

          SFW this time, right? :)

          • That is going to haunt me until I die, isn’t it?

            Again, I am so dreadfully sorry.

            And yes, since that unfortunate incident my link has always been SFW.

            • Jordan

              Ahh, sorry. I’m not sure if I’ve ever brought it up before, but I won’t again.

              • Tis cool. I was laughing a lot, wincing a little.

                • Jordan

                  Yeah, but I definitely see how it would be annoying.

                  Speaking of which, whatever happened to anthrofred? (I think he or she was one of other ones to do a double-take).

            • elm

              Backstory, please…

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                see now I was too embarrassed about being nosy to actually ask

                Shakezula: those bird pics you posted earlier are fricken *amazing*

              • LSS: I’m on Tumblr now and when I had very little idea how the platform works I posted a snarky response to a pornographic video clip.

                I didn’t realize doing so would post said clip to my blog. Until a some kind people here were like “Say there. The hosefest at your link, that I opened while at work, what’s up with that?”

                Absolutely. Mortifying. But now I can laugh about it.

                The End.

          • Barry Freed

            LOL

    • Rhino

      Link?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      that is very cool

  • Strong Thermos

    I gotta say, egotistical homophobia might be my favorite. It’s definitely the most pathetic. I remember when my friend came out at my Catholic high school. To most of my classmates’ credit, no one really cared. A couple of people were skeeved, and most people had an unenlightened view of gay people, to say the least. The best comments I heard boiled down to “I don’t care if people are gay but I don’t want them to hit on me.” And no doubt, someone who considers themselves Very Thoughtful will say something to the effect of “what about the teammates” and be legitimately astounded when someone points out their homophobia.

    Why are you afraid of gay people hitting on you? Is it because you’re afraid you might not be able to resist?

    • I have to say “But he might hit on me!” makes me eye roll.

      I’m not crazy about being hit on by guys. But it never occurs to me to assume all or half or even 1/Million Zillionth of straight men will hit on me. I mean Jesus, how fucking vain are these people?

      • Hogan

        You just don’t realize how voracious and indiscriminate gay men are. Also, proselytizing.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          sounds like Jehovah’s Witnesses

          • Another Holocene Human

            but with more tastefully laid out and illustrated pamphlets

            • JustRuss

              Better dressed, too!

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        Sounds like these homophobic men need to just learn to “take it as a compliment”, the way women are always being told to when they are hit-on, ogled, approached, cornered etc. against their wishes.

      • I’d be worried that the gay guys wouldn’t hit on me.

        My last few remaining shreds of self esteem wouldn’t be able to take it.

        • mjtp

          Once in my life a gay man hit on me (details way too boring).
          I was able to turn him down politely, but man, did that make my week.

          • drkrick

            Me too. It was in the mid-’70’s and a lot of my straight friends were curious about why I didn’t beat him up, which was interesting. It was the kind of unbelievable inept pickup attempt you were just as likely to see from a straight college guy so not particularly threatening.

      • Ann Outhouse

        Apparently, “just say no” is not in their conceptual framework for sexual relations.

        One of my very best friends in college was a lesbian, and she’d invite me to mostly-lesbian parties at her house, and every now and then someone who didn’t know me and didn’t know I was straight would hit on me. And I’d just say I’m straight, and that was the end of it. Same when we went to the local gay bar to hang out.

        • Crunchy Frog

          Hey, you have to understand the mentality of the guys who say this stuff. First, they’ll have sex with any woman who will have them, so they assume everyone else is the same. Second, a surprisingly large number of them have uncomfortable urges from time to time and they’d really rather not be reminded of those.

      • Strong Thermos

        It’s just incredible how much of this, like that guy’s comment about football being for a “man’s man” boils down to (from my armchair psychologist view) people publicly working through their own issues. Or at least making it about their feelings-reminds me of the brilliant Louis CK joke “how am I going to explain the gay lifestyle to my kids?!!” I dunno, your personal hang ups are your own fucking problem, same with everything else in life.

      • DrDick

        I used to live just outside of Boys’ Town in Chicago. I have pierced ears and occasionally got hit on by guys. It was never really a problem and mostly I just ignored them or smiled and said I was not interested. I suppose it was a bit off putting the first few times it happened, long before that when I was in grad school in Oklahoma, but nobody ever pushed the issue and I decided it was kind of flattering that someone thought I was attractive.

    • Murc

      “I don’t care if people are gay but I don’t want them to hit on me.”

      What’s double-creepy about that is that if you follow it up by asking “Why would someone hit on you, since you’re clearly not interested? Do you hit on women who clearly aren’t interested?” you’ll discover that the response is “Yes.”

      Which really means that a lot of dudebros are worried about the possibility a queer guy will act towards them the way they’re used to acting towards women.

      • Ann Outhouse

        I think that’s a valid point. More specifically, I think they have some unfocused anxiety about being raped. And maybe liking it, but I think it’s more fear than repressed homoeroticism.

      • Anderson

        Which really means that a lot of dudebros are worried about the possibility a queer guy will act towards them the way they’re used to acting towards women.

        Huh, that is perhaps the best thing I’ll read this week. Exactly right.

        • Anonymous

          Not trying to take anything away from Murc, but that’s an old and much-reproduced definition of male homophobia. The fear that another man will treat them like they treat women.

          • Murc

            Indeed. I should have provided accreditation.

            It’s one of those points that can never be repeated too much.

            • Anonymous

              Agreed. Thanks for doing so.

      • JL

        I think this is also part of why these guys express queerphobia differently toward men than toward women. With men, it’s “Ew, get away, I don’t want you hitting on me.” With women, it’s “I want to watch” or “I want to join in” or “You just need to be with a real man”…in other words, sexualized rather than fearful.

    • Arnaud de Borchgrave

      I think the current version is: I have nothing against his being gay, I just don’t want him shoving it down my throat.

  • Jordan

    Wow, indeed.

    Outsports has a really good behind the scenes take here.

  • DrDick

    It is good to see a prominent college athlete taking this kind of stand, especially at Missouri given the rabidly homophobic atmosphere in the state. It will be interesting to see how the NFL handles this, though I do not have high expectations.

  • Denverite

    The story NFL scouts were giving out before Sam’s announcement is that he’s not big enough to be an NFL DE and not fast enough to be an OLB.

    Fortunately, there’s never a time on the football field where you’d want a player who’s a hybrid OLB-DE type. Say a situation where you want to play a slot corner — meaning you’d have five DBs, or a “nickel’s” worth.

    • Scott Lemieux

      That’s so crazy it might just work!

    • Gregor Sansa

      This must be what math jokes sound like to most people.

      Usually I skip the sports threads here but now I see that incomprehensible wit is actually funny.

      • Hogan

        R D R R

  • In the cnnsi piece linked above is the following: “Multiple NFL executives questioned Sam’s decision to come out now, as he will be the biggest story in football between now and the NFL draft on May 8. […] An NFL assistant coach called Sam’s decision “not a smart move,” as he said it “legitimately affects [his] potential earnings.”

    Aargh. As though the only relevant considerations are your draft position and potential earnings. Hey guys, maybe other things are important to Michael Sams?

    • Oh, like the following consideration (just saw this in the NY Times article):

      “[Mr. Sams] said he decided to come out publicly now because he sensed that rumors were circulating.

      “I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” said Mr. Sam, who also spoke with ESPN on Sunday. “I just want to own my truth.””

    • Crunchy Frog

      Under the CBA – in which the players at the time sold out the compensation of future rookies – and amazingly this indentured servitude is all legal – a draftee will be well paid by average joe standards but if they make the team will be way underpaid for the first several years.

      And, ironically, the lower you are in the draft the faster you can get a real free agent contract. Thus, it may be better for him compensation-wise in the long run to fall in the draft.

      • chuchundra

        Well, yes and no.

        Players drafted in rounds 2 through 7 all sign four year deals. Since Sam wasn’t likely sneaking into the first round, this doesn’t affect him much.

        Undrafted free agents sign three year deals. In a lot of ways, it’s better to be a UDFA than to be drafted in the 7th round.

        On the other hand, the higher you’re picked, the more the team has invested in you and the more chances you’ll be given to prove yourself.

    • Joshua

      His teammates knew he was gay, which means NFL GMs and scouts knew he was gay. If he didn’t make it public now, GMs would have buried him in secret. They’d ask him a few inappropriate questions (do you have a girlfriend? How many girls did you hook up with in college? Etc.), leak a few “character issue” and “bad attitude” stories to ESPN, and ignore him on draft day.

      Coming out now moves all the pressure back towards where it belongs, the bigoted institution that doesn’t want him because of who he is. It’s a brilliant move, and likely the only one he had.

      • wengler

        This goes back to the NFL believing itself above all rules and laws in American workplaces, but doesn’t the question ‘Do you have a girlfriend’ violate some anti-discrimination statute?

        • Joshua

          Yes, it does, but this is part and parcel with the whole draft run-up. Remember that Jeff Ireland asked Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute, and Dez was the one tagged with the bad attitude label.

        • elm

          Last year, they asked a number of players at the combine, including Denard Robinson, if they had girlfriends and if they liked girls. There was a bit of a media fracas as a result.

  • Steve S.

    The story NFL scouts were giving out before Sam’s announcement is that he’s not big enough to be an NFL DE and not fast enough to be an OLB.

    It’s true, 6-2 and 260 is a “tweener” size in the NFL, so that would cost him some draft slots even absent this revelation. Still, will be interesting to see what happens.

    • Ronnie Pudding

      Tweener usually just means 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE. Maybe he’s relegated to pass rush specialist in the 4-3 (comes in with the nickel or dime packages), but that’s still an important role in the pass happy NFL.

      I think his mid-round projections are based on his size. If he were 20 pounds heavier, he might have been 1st or 2nd round talent.

      • efgoldman

        If he were 20 pounds heavier, he might have been 1st or 2nd round talent.

        And no NFL player ever ::ahem:: “bulked up” in the off season.
        Hell, 20 pounds he could probably do legitimately.

        • N__B

          That’s what cronuts are for.

  • Anderson

    Well, a better and braver way to handle it than the Jonathan Martin method. Best wishes to the guy – hope he’s signed & kicks ass.

    • That is incredibly unfair to Martin. Obviously Anderson is someone who was never bullied.

      • Loomis telepathy: not activated.

        … I’m a Dolphins fan, so I’ve paid pretty close attention. Martin doesn’t seem to have been bullied any more than is FBOW typical. Where were the black Dolphins stepping up? They were defending Incognito. That was my first hint to look past the headlines.

        Whether Martin is closeted or straight, the guy was a freakin classics major at Stanford. Probably reads Greek and Latin. No surprise if he wasn’t a fit for the NFL or for that locker room in particular. But what a bullshit way of dealing with it.

        Anyway, (1) we’ll see what Ted Wells says, and (2) go, Sam!

        • Clearly you have never been bullied.

          • Telepathy still not working. 3d-6th grade: punched, chased to/from school, afraid to go outside after school. Not Loomis-quality bullying, I’m sure, but luckily I didn’t have you around at the time.

            If you haven’t followed the Martin story, so you don’t have any facts, by all means keep repeating g the same personal assertion. It’s bound to work eventually.

        • djw

          Whether Martin is closeted or straight, the guy was a freakin classics major at Stanford. Probably reads Greek and Latin. No surprise if he wasn’t a fit for the NFL or for that locker room in particular.

          WTF?

          • wjts

            “Hey, Incognito – I hear the fucking new guy wrote his senior thesis on Strabo.”

            “What? I hate Strabo!”

          • Ann Outhouse

            Being stupid and illiterate is manly. The stupider and illiterater you are, the manlier you are.

            • djw

              Yes, I’m familiar with that particular idiotic stereotype, I’m just a bit taken aback that Anderson is deploying it.

            • So wait, non-classics majors are stupid? I’m saying the guy’s personality was a poor fit for the NFL.

              • Hogan

                Because classics majors all have the same personality?

                • Nope. Neither do lawyers, accountants, or plumbers. And yet, we generalize. Pardon me for picking one detail instead of a psychobiography in a blog comment.

                  The guy was smart and successful. He got moved to LT, a huge challenge. The team brought in McKinnie and moved him back to RT. He “snaps” in abouta week, over a prank that he had played on others before. I think he feared he had failed, for the first time maybe, and then rather than make his fit about that, he blamed “bullying.”

                  Anyway, eventually the Wells report will come out, and maybe it will be objective & useful. If I blame anyone in the organization, it’s the OL coach (fire him anyway, worst OL season in team history). But if a guy is determined to hold his shit in til he loses it, it can be tough for others to see it coming.

                • djw

                  Nope. Neither do lawyers, accountants, or plumbers. And yet, we generalize.

                  okay then.

                  It’s one thing to make the case, as you seem to want to make, that Martin wasn’t really bullied or harassed in any meaningful or relevant way, but used that as an excuse to quit because he wasn’t a good football player and is planning to file some sort of lawsuit. Whatever the merits of that interpretation (I’m underwhelmed, but have been wrong before), I’m at a complete loss as to what his choice of major in college could possibly contribute to the case for interpreting the facts in such a way as to confirm that narrative. Perhaps I’m just not sufficiently versed in stereotypes about classics majors.

                • Djw, I think the “Strabo” joke a little up the thread shows an intuitive grasp of my point (whether or not that was the joke’s intention).

                  I am now curious to see a list of degree-holders in classics who have played in the NFL. And let’s throw in the philosophers, while we’re at it.

                • … Khaled Holmes. Andrew Luck seems to attract these guys!

                • Lee Rudolph

                  Well, Frank Ryan had a Ph.D. in mathematics.

                • Jordan

                  Arian Foster is a philosophy major and a vegan (!). This has not caused problems for him via his teammates.

              • DrS

                Wow, that’s *one* way to spin that statement.

                Also, “poor fit for the NFL” is pretty damned debatable. Poor fit for the bullying culture of the NFL, perhaps, sure.

                That should be the NFLs issue to fix. Since when do they get free license to avoid employment law regarding hostile work environments? Cause of all the tough, manly men who need to scream “faggot” at others?

                • Martin doesn’t appear to have been “bullied” in the sense of “singled out,” that I can tell.

                  I imagine he’s going to file a hostile-environment suit, and if it’s not settled before discovery progresses, it will be interesting to see what’s revealed.

                • rea

                  I imagine he’s going to file a hostile-environment suit

                  You don’t know much about the law of sexual discrimination, do you?

                • Rea, that is slightly enigmatic, as you doubtless intended. I certainly don’t know what YOU have in mind re: said law.

                  Is the idea that sexual orientation isn’t a protected category? Because I’m pretty sure in the wake of Windsor, people are filing suits left & right arguing variations on “NOW it is.”

                  (Leaving aside the idea that a lawsuit has to have obvious merit, an idea much more widely held by non-lawyers than by those inside the profession.)

        • brad

          I hate to be that guy, but isn’t there direct, ample evidence that, on average, gay men in the NFL are far more able to tolerate bullying? Presumably not directly for being gay since all thus far have been closeted, but considering the climate they’re still being bullied for it by any honest measure.

          • Anonymous

            That’s probably true of gay and lesbian people, in general, though. Those text messages read a lot differently to me. Martin’s giving as good as he’s getting verbally, but it’s not a friendly situation, and there’s some veiled threats of violent from Richie’s side. What could Martin possibly do, but joke back?

            • Talk to his OL coach, or to Philbin. Roundup of facts here. I would have added that his mom’s a lawyer who does Title VII work.

              • Besides that fact roundup, this blog post by Armando Salguero, who covers the team for the Miami Herald (and is far from being a lickspittle “access” pseudo-journalist) is worth a look.

                At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, Jon Martin, your weak act is officially old. Go away. Just do what you did best as an offensive lineman on the field and back away. Just do what you did when you left your teammates unexpectedly during the season and simply disappear.

                Every single step taken by you in this saga feels manufactured and authored by a lawyer as a step torward a suit. And that makes sense because you definitely have gotten excellent legal advice from your family and the lawyer you added to represent you in this matter. And I, for one, would be surprised if your legal team isn’t preparing a suit.

                The dramatic throwing down of your lunch tray and departure? No other teammate did that when you were among the players standing up and leaving them alone at a lunch table. So the fact you chose that harmless act to make your departure statement seems contrived now.

                Read to the end for the Salguero-Incognito moment.

                I do have to wonder what the coaches were thinking, making the barely-reformed-if-that Incognito some kind of moral leader. But I believe the big lug actually thought he was doing a good job of it, and was surprised when Martin flipped out. (And there are plenty of coaching decisions for Dolphins fans to wonder about this past season.)

                • lige

                  Have you ever been bullied in the work place as an adult? It’s a weird situation where you don’t know whether to get in a fight with the dude or what. The whole Dolphins organization is rotten if they actually backed someone behaving in that way in a place of business.

              • Jordan

                “Talk to his OL coach”

                This statement now totally lulzworthy given the Wells report.

                Well, in that despairing sense of lulz.

                So, we are getting a big admission of failure on your part, right Anderson?

        • The prophet Nostradumbass

          You’re a fucking idiot. Full stop.

        • Jordan

          We now have seen what Ted Wells said. So, you are going to admit you were totally wrong and a jackass, right?

    • Jordan

      Dafuq?

      1) Here is a case of a guy who has been harassed.
      2) Here is another case of a guy who comes out.

      3) The guy in (2) is way braver and better than the guy in (1).

      4) Hotty Toddy

      • Fuck Ole Miss.

        • Jordan

          Aww, bless your heart.

  • Anderson

    the SEC is by far the best conference in college football,

    Holy shit – can you write that at LGM???

  • Wrye

    Apropos of nothing, I wonder if the CFL is keeping an eye on this. Their ability to pick up US players is limited, but I wonder….

  • Brien Jackson

    I don’t see many mocks that have had him as a first round pick in the last week or so, but he seems like a definite top of the second round type of player. So someone who can get past the homophobia is probably gonna get a damn good deal in the late 2nd/early 3rd round.

  • JustRuss

    It’s probably going to take the right kind of coach (say, Pete Carroll perhaps)

    Dammit Loomis, don’t you make me start rooting for Pete Carroll! Just don’t!

  • ADHDJ

    I’d love to ask these bigots why they think they know more about football than Vince Fucking Lombardi.

    Lombardi was aware of tight end Jerry Smith’s homosexuality, and upon arriving in Washington, told Smith in confidence that it would never be an issue as long as he was coaching the Redskins. Smith flourished, becoming an integral part of Lombardi’s offense, and was voted a First Team All-Pro for the first time in his career, which was also Lombardi’s only season as Redskin head coach.[122] Lombardi invited other gay players to training camp, and Lombardi would privately hope they would prove they could earn a spot on the team.[123] At the Washington Redskins training camp in 1969, Ray McDonald was a gay player, with sub-par skills,[124] who was trying to make the Redskin roster again ,[citation needed] but this time with Lombardi as the Redskins’ new head coach. Lombardi told running back coach, George Dickson,[125] ‘I want you to get on McDonald and work on him and work on him – and if I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood, you’ll be out of here before your ass hits the ground.’

    • I’d love to ask these bigots why they think they know more about football than Vince Fucking Lombardi.

      Indeed. He doesn’t seem to have wondered whether the NFL was ready.

      • drkrick

        He was ready. He figured the NFL would try to catch up if they could, since it had worked for him before.

  • eddie-g

    If Michael Sam goes undrafted this year, it will be a travesty. Is he an elite, top-tier defensive back? Maybe yes, maybe no, but he’s a pass rusher who is equipped to play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, at a time when stopping the pass is critical to any team’s success.

    Basically, he’s the type of player who should be an absolute lock to be drafted at some point. Guys fresh out of college with his skill set are meat and drink to GMs, you basically can’t go wrong. Could be Mathis-eque superstar, could be a serviceable situational rusher for 4 years, either way, he’ll be great value on a rookie contract.

    Yet he might not get one. I hope the doubters, like myself, are proven wrong.

    • Brien Jackson

      Huh? Not that I think he will be, but it’s not like tweener pass rushers have never been total busts or anything.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Gholston

      • eddie-g

        Trust the Jets to prove the exception… anyhow, I don’t think it’s news that not all draft picks work out.

        But if your draft strategy is to sign players who are near certain to be contributors, a well-regarded pass rusher is a very decent bet. The notion that 32 GMs will all pass on Michael Sam is pretty much unthinkable.

  • Homer Sectual

    “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

    No so fast. If he were so proud and so open, he wouldn’t have hidden it in the closet all this time.

    He was not open and he was not proud. He only says that now.

    • Hogan

      Oh, did you not get the email? Sorry.

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