If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks you might have missed some of the biggest news to hit professional sports in sometime.   Michael Sam, a Mizzou football player, came out as gay to the NY Times and subsequently the entire world.  As Sam has pledged for the NFL Draft, he has the opportunity to become the first “openly” gay NFL player in the league.  It’s important to stress openly because I am sure that there are other gay NFL players who are very secretive or “closeted” about the matter.   Since Sam’s coming out, there has been a media uproar in the NFL.  The media is arguing is ready for such a thing; I say now is as good a time as any.  As I previously mentioned I am sure that the league already possesses athletes who consider themselves gay, however they are just not “openly” gay as Michael Sam, or Jason Collins of the NBA.  I say this because we’ve been treated with books and letters from retired athletes who come out as gay after they leave their respective league in order to try and avoid intense media backlash while they were playing their respective sport.  Never before have we had an athlete that has come out as gay before he is even active in the league.  Sam is basically going against everything our culture has taught us about discussing sexual orientations differ than what we deem as normal, heterosexuality.  We are taught to keep our private matters to ourselves if they different from the “norm”.  Sam has metaphorically tackled that notion to the ground, and is putting himself on display for everyone to see.

            One issue that many media outlets and analysts seem to have with this entire thing is that they are not sure how Sam will fit in with the locker room environment of the NFL.  Many seem to think that he will throw a kink into an intensely masculine and testosterone driven “haven”.  What some people seem to forget is that Sam had already told many members of his college team about his sexual orientation in college.  If Sam was able to survive in a college football locker room, which you could argue could possibly be worse than an NFL one, I think its quite plausible that he would be able to adapt to any challenges he might face in a NFL locker room.  I think that beyond this issue the main issue many people have with Michael Sam is that he is breaking the mold of what we as a culture usually attribute a football player to be.  In our culture, when we think of a football player, we think of a strong, masculine, dominant, and fierce heterosexual man.  However, many people in our culture think of a homosexual man as feminine and soft.  How can these two things possibly cohesively fit together?  Never before have we had an example that showed us a football player entering the prime of his athletic ability, while also being gay.  ENTER MICHEAL SAM!!!!!!