I have been a swimmer for 15 years.  I have swam for over 10 separate teams, all the way up to the national level.  I have raced thousands upon thousands of individuals.  However, in all my time in the water, there seems to be one subtle detail that for most, flies under the radar: There are very few black people.   I have heard many theories as to why this may be.  People say it’s because of the anatomical difference in muscle density and ratio of fast- to slow-twitch muscle cells that causes black people to only have quick bursts of energy as opposed to a long steady flow of it.  An article on race and physics by Amren news claims the reason is “because blacks have such dense bones, they are less buoyant and less likely

Blog1to be swimming champions.”   Many scientist claim it’s because blacks have quicker reaction speeds than Caucasians and therefore excel at other sports that require quick reactions unlike swimming.  All of these explanations may be true; however, it does not take away from the obvious fact that white athletes severely out number black in the pool.

Swimming is not the only sport that is segregated like this.  Sports such as golf, tennis, track, basketball and football are also very racially oriented.  These days, it’s nearly impossible to find a sport that
isn’t racially segregated in some way.  There are many different theories as to why things may be this way.  One of them being that blacks high level of testosterone.  In the Ameren article    (http://www.amren.com/news/2008/02/race_and_physic_1/ ) that was mentioned earlier, it is stated that “Studies have repeatedly found that black men have more of the male hormone testosterone in their blood than whites do. Testosterone is directly related to physical and sexual aggressiveness, but it also combines significantly with intelligence.”  The testosterone allows black males to build more muscle faster and more efficiently than white males.  Which brings me to my next point, the type of muscle built.  There are two types of muscle cells, fast-twitch and slow-twitch.  Fast-twitch muscle cells are used for power movements such as jumping or sprinting while slow-twitch muscle is used for endurance purposes. According to http://run-down.com/guests/je_black_athletes_p2.php in a study of fast-twitch muscle cells in Africans anBlog2d Caucasians, researchers found, “The West Africans, by a ratio of approximately two to one, had more of the larger fast-twitch fibers. The researchers concluded that the force generating capacity of type-II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers at high velocity, the speed and tempo of movements, and the capacity of an individual to adapt to exercise training are all genetically influenced.”  Another possible reason why blacks excel at some sports and whites excel at others is due to bone density.  Studies show that Caucasian bone is only about 87.5% as dense as African American bone.  This causes blacks to be more agile and gives them the stability needed to run faster and cut harder.  However, this makes them more much less buoyant which gives Caucasians the advantage in aquatic sports such as swimming.  These facts are just the beginning of all the anatomical differences between blacks and whites that cause the segregation of certain sports.

I will admit, however, there are some exceptions to this ideology.  One example is the Olympic 50 meter freestyler silver medalist, Cullen Jones.  Jones is an African American born in the Bronx.  He is the current American record holder in the 50 meter freestyle and has been on multiple American gold medal winning relays.  Jones may be one of the few black swimmers in the world, but he doesn’t necessarily redefine the stereotype.  It is a well-known fact in the swimming world that most black swimmers are sprinters because of the large amount of muscle mass required for those events.  In 2012, the US Olympic swim team did not have a single black swimmer in an event longer than 200 meters.  Even this follows all the facts stated above in that blacks do have faster reactions and more efficient bodies for sprinting allowing them to overpower the buoyancy issue for a short period of time.

backstroke start-

Many people see these facts as disturbing and wrong.  However, the way I see it, it’s simply an effect of evolution and natural selection.  Certain sports are more populated with African American athletes simply because they are built more efficiently for it.  Some sports are more populated with Caucasian athlete for the same reason.  The purpose of sports is to test the ability of an athlete to see who is better.  Some races are built more efficiently than others for certain things, it’s a simple fact of life.  I believe that athletes should not be judged by the color of their skin.  However, I do believe that the color of an athlete’s skin does have the potential to mean the difference in ability.

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racism2

At first glance, it may not seem that there is nothing wrong with the gesture, at least to me it was not. However, when a friend showed me the meaning behind it, my mind was blown. Soccer is the most widely known sport with teams competing and representing more than hundreds of countries. Nationalism is expected, many citizens want to believe that there team is the best and tend to have an urgency to let oppositions know. They want to show their pride in their team and complete loyalty.

However, many people believe that sports are supposed to be the forefront for being racism free. Since so many different races, cultures, ethnicities, etc. play soccer everyone should just be accepting of each other. Even FIFA makes statements such as these to show that many people are accepting. Regardless, the initiative has been proved futile. Furthermore, starting the #SayNoToRacism movement.

Dani Alves, one of the most accomplished football players of all time, number 6, is a defender for Barcelona FC. Alves was born and raised in Juazeiro, Brazil. Throughout, his career he has faced adversity especially since the majority of his teams that he played on are from Spain.

This incident in particular went viral over the internet is minutes after happening. Alves lined up to take a corner when a banana came flying onto the field next to where Alves was standing. Amazingly, Alves then proceeded to pick up the banana and eat , throw the banana off the field then take the corner kick.

“We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor,” Alves said.

Alves response is absolutely amazing, eating the banana that game inspired so many people to support his cause of fighting against racism in a more productive manner. Neymar took to instagram posting a picture of him and his son eating a banana. Man City’s star player Sergio Aguero also took to social media posting a pic of him and Marta on Twitter eating a banana. Phenomenal acts such top players supporting Alves can go a long way for fighting racism in the sport of soccer.

Villarreal also took the right steps in furthering the movement by banning the fan who threw the banana for life. Unfortunately, Villarreal is also being fined by the federation as Spanish football tries to clean up the game’s image. Surprisingly, Villarreal accepted the fine and apologized for the incident.

But are the fans really to blame for their behaviors? Is it enlisted in their brains at a young age to be racist to an extent? A massive subject that is not presented in school is how children were taught at one point in Alabama. More specifically, a good old fashion book that was only made in Alabama called Know Alabama.

This was a book given to fourth graders that taught them that being a racist was okay and justified. The book , of course, promoted racism and instilling a feeling into the kids that Alabama was doing the right thing by being blatantly racist and that it was the correct way to live. The book gives a scenario called “ Your family plantation “, in this section the word negro is used constantly to degrade slaves:

One of the little Negro boys is called ‘Jig’ He got that name because he dances so well when the Negroes play their banjos.

“Jig comes up and says ‘Let me play.'”

“And you say “All right, but you be the captive Indian.”

“That will be fun,” Jig says, and he goes off gladly to be the Indian, to hide and then get himself captured.

Unbelievable, this is what is given to kids at such a young age. Not to mention, the book also tries to justify the Klu Klux Klan actions:

“The loyal white men of Alabama saw they could not depend on the laws or the state government to protect their families. They knew they had to do something to bring back law and order, to get the government back in the hands of honest men who knew how to run it.

“They (the Klan) held their courts in the dark forests at night; they passed sentence on the criminals and they carried out the sentence. Sometimes the sentence would be to leave the state.

To many other countries, the US seems like a safe haven; no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity there is guaranteed a place where anyone can be accepted. Not to mention, we are taught that we are the greatest country by how much freedom we have compared to other countries. So if these problems happened in the greatest country on earth, could we really blame soccer fans for showing their nationalistic views which include racism?

In life, progression is inevitable. Racism, unfortunately, does have a high prevalence in soccer. The steps that soccer officials are taking to cleanse the sport of racism is being done correctly. Not to mention, that players are dealing with the adversity extremely well. Alves’s moment is just a step in the right direction. There is still many more obstacles that need to be overcame to have a completely color blind sport.

I have been a swimmer for 15 years.  I have swam for over 10 separate teams, all the way up to the national level.  I have raced thousands upon thousands of individuals.  However, in all my time in the water, there seems to be one subtle detail that for most, flies under the radar: There are very few black people.   I have heard many theories as to why this may be.  People say it’s because of the anatomical difference in muscle density and ratio of fast- to slow-twitch muscle cells that causes black people to only have quick bursts of energBlog1y as opposed to a long steady flow of it.  An article on race and physics by Amren news claims the reason is “because blacks have such dense bones, they are less buoyant and less likely to be swimming champions.”   Many scientist claim it’s because blacks have quicker reaction speeds than Caucasians and therefore excel at other sports that require quick reactions unlike swimming.  All of these explanations may be true; however, it does not take away from the obvious fact that white athletes severely out number black in the pool.

Swimming is not the only sport that is segregated like this.  Sports such as golf, tennis, track, basketball and football are also very racially oriented.  These days, it’s nearly impossible to find a sport that isn’t racially segregated in some way.  There are many different theories as to why things may be this way.  One of them being that blacks high level of testosterone.  In the Ameren article    (http://www.amren.com/news/2008/02/race_and_physic_1/ ) that was mentioned earlier, it is stated that “Studies have repeatedly found that black men have more of theBlog2 male hormone testosterone in their blood than whites do. Testosterone is directly related to physical and sexual aggressiveness, but it also combines significantly with intelligence.”  The testosterone allows black males to build more muscle faster and more efficiently than white males.  Which brings me to my next point, the type of muscle built.  There are two types of muscle cells, fast-twitch and slow-twitch.  Fast-twitch muscle cells are used for power movements such as jumping or sprinting while slow-twitch muscle is used for endurance purposes. According to http://run-down.com/guests/je_black_athletes_p2.php in a study of fast-twitch muscle cells in Africans and Caucasians, researchers found, “The West Africans, by a ratio of approximately two to one, had more of the larger fast-twitch fibers. The researchers concluded that the force generating capacity of type-II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers at high velocity, the speed and tempo of movements, and the capacity of an individual to adapt to exercise training are all genetically influenced.”  Another possible reason why blacks excel at some sports and whites excel at others is due to bone density.  Studies show that Caucasian bone is only about 87.5% as dense as African American bone.  This causes blacks to be more agile and gives them the stability needed to run faster and cut harder.  However, this makes them more much less buoyant which gives Caucasians the advantage in aquatic sports such as swimming.  These facts are just the beginning of all the anatomical differences between blacks and whites that cause the segregation of certain sports.

backstroke start-

I will admit, however, there are some exceptions to this ideology.  One example is the Olympic 50 meter freestyler silver medalist, Cullen Jones.  Jones is an African American born in the Bronx.  He is the current American record holder in the 50 meter freestyle and has been on multiple American gold medal winning relays.  Jones may be one of the few black swimmers in the world, but he doesn’t necessarily redefine the stereotype.  It is a well-known fact in the swimming world that most black swimmers are sprinters because of the large amount of muscle mass required for those events.  In 2012, the US Olympic swim team did not have a single black swimmer in an event longer than 200 meters.  Even this follows all the facts stated above in that blacks do have faster reactions and more efficient bodies for sprinting allowing them to overpower the buoyancy issue for a short period of time.

Many people see these facts as disturbing and wrong.  However, the way I see it, it’s simply an effect of evolution and natural selection.  Certain sports are more populated with African American athletes simply because they are built more efficiently for it.  Some sports are more populated with Caucasian athlete for the same reason.  The purpose of sports is to test the ability of an athlete to see who is better.  Some races are built more efficiently than others for certain things, it’s a simple fact of life.  I believe that athletes should not be judged by the color of their skin.  However, I do believe that the color of an athlete’s skin does have the potential to mean the difference in ability.

Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Walter Payton– the exceptions to “the rule”. The struggle of minorities in sports. Not everybody falls under the same umbrella as these superstars, so where does that leave all other minorities in sports? Some iconic figures in sports have opened the door for minorities, but just slightly. These pioneers underwent many struggles to overcome a mold they did not fit. These faces are among the athletes that have become pioneers in a fight for racial equality. Racial equality is defined as “an equal regard to all races”. This idea is said to be embraced throughout the sports industry, but the lack of understanding and acceptance of other cultures does not permit that.

Stuart Scott

Who has not heard of that name? Regardless of the knowledge someone has on sports, the name Stuart Scott probably rings some type of bell. Stuart Scott was one of the most well known sportscasters to ever be televised on ESPN and ABC. Although Stuart Scott was not the first African-American sportscaster, he was indeed one of the most iconic sportscasters to ever be seen. Stuart Scott introduced a completely new way to host and televise professional sports. He fused Hip-Hop into his style of hosting and provided a completely different approach to how sports could be viewed. His style of hosting gave a more urban twist to televised television as said by Al Jazeera.

Stuart represented an entire generation of sports fans and sports journalists who watched games through a different prism – a prism shaped by non-mainstream experiences and because he refused to change his style or approach – even when so many critics tried to shame him into doing it – the industry eventually realized how valuable that audience was.

-Al Jazeera

His style of televising sports although greatly embraced, did cause some speculation. His work was criticized because it was said to “lack professionalism” and many blamed that on his racial background. His style was not one that was “wrong,” but due to the inability for it to be understood among others it was not accepted. It is said that people fear what they don’t understand, and in this context it is true. People were intimidated by this new style of commentating and wanted it out. Many encouraged him to set aside his style, and take on the more “normal” style. In this context, “normal” aimed at a more formal style, one that was portrayed mainly as white, or interpreted as such. Although there were many other non-white sportscasters during that time, none of them portrayed a style that veered away from the norm as much as Stuart Scott did. Aside from the barrier that his racial background formed, he managed to not only use it as a motivation, but also to revolutionize the world of sports commentary.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell is what was considered according to  the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America the “Greatest Player in the History of the NBA”. Bill Russell made an image of himself not only as a player, but as a coach. He went to become the first African-American coach to ever coach in the NBA. His career as a coach was not too successful, and that is where we begin to see the difficulty of being a minority and a coach. His coaching was affected due to all the criticism that came from him being a  minority. As a player he was seen as great, but his ability to coach did not meet the expectations set by all other coaches. Clearly, Russell knew the game of basketball well as he won 11 rings, but his talent itself was not enough to overcome the idea that he was simply not good enough to be in the position of a caucasian male. This is due to the cultural atmosphere that was present during his time. The idea was one: white men were an authoritative figure, and blacks were not. That came with misunderstanding from two cultural parties: the white man and the black man. The white male was not accustomed to the idea that a black male could indeed be in power and effectively do so. The black male was not accustomed to the idea of so much control and power being in his hands that when it was there was this confusion on what exactly to do with it.

The Race

There has been an ongoing controversy based on the idea that racism is still a key factor of the sports industry. Although several iconic people such as Stuart Scott and Bill Russell, have attempted to break these social barriers, we can still notice social undertones in sports today. Racism in sports is still evident in the way certain cultural values are neglected. In the Chicago Bulls, for example, it is “frowned” upon to wear headbands, and the players follow. No one is forced to abide, but the headbands are linked to “unprofessionalism”. Players that don’t share that view, are subject to fines or being disqualified from potential signings. The head wear is known to be a characteristic that is a part of street-ball which is primarily played in minority based neighborhoods. The demeaning manner in which headbands are looked with go against the idea of “equality for all”. With the definition, the idea is that equality is given to all races and all that comes with it. Different races come with different cultures and when “accepting” a race, the culture should be as well. I know that there are exceptions in the work force sometimes, but headgear is part of athletic wear and the fact that is looked down upon aims at the idea that there is more to it than simply a lack of “professionalism”.


Sports are said to be more “inclusive” than they were before, and that holds true for their players perhaps(Figure 1), but not in other aspects of sports. The average owner of a NBA team is middle aged or about to be, and with that their mindset comes from a different time era that suggests different norms. The age difference creates a lack of understanding between players and ownership. It is very difficult to conform with players that are mostly minorities when the owner cannot relate or understand most of the players. This is evident with the incident that occurred with the owner of the L.A. Clippers, Donald Sterling. Although this incident occurred in 2014, a time so far from racism, it proves the idea that even decades later someone can still lack the ability to understand other cultures. This social undertone extends to TV announcers and commentators as well. Stuart Scott was said to have revolutionized TV commentating and broaden the spectrum of what is considered commentating, but even then 65% of the commentators are still Caucasian (Figure 2). This suggests that if you are not a pioneer, or hold undeniable talent, you will not make it in the world of sports commentary as easily as a Caucasian.

Figure 1:                                                                      Figure 2:

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender
The sports industry is one that has undergone a lot of changes, but it is still undeniable that there are racial undertones present within players, coaches, and sports commentary. Its is unrealistic to expect a perfect balance between racial backgrounds, but there is still molds that are yet to be broken. The issue concerned with the lack of racial equality will not be solved until the different cultures and cultural values are not only embraced, but understood as well.

The “Best” of Premier League

Huy Bui

Ever since its establishment, The Premier League has always been among the top most exciting and powerful football leagues in the world, attracting millions of followers and a variety of different corporations to pump tremendous amount of money into it through commercials and advertisements. With strong capitalism, competitiveness and unpredictable games, the league becomes more challenging and more fascinating than ever, drawing massive attention from the media. All these factors, along with the media’s influence, contribute to the overall success of the league, projecting the league in its best image. The image of the league has grown to become more culturally significant with fans across England coming together in different jerseys, which paint vivid colors to the city. The league sure is a beautiful painting; however, the painting is darkened by the league’s many controversies over racism and sexism. Now, are these forms of discrimination new colors added to give the league some dramatic effects? Certainly not! Racism and sexism in football have always been there since the establishment of the league. Although the league does show some awareness of these forms of discrimination, but they have not made adequate effort in addressing them. In fact, racism and sexism start become a norm that defines the league with the fans being the main catalyst.

Racism and sexism come in as a result of tempers flaring from fans of rivalry teams. It is common in sport, especially in football where fans while cheering for their team often have a penchant for intensifying the atmosphere through direct verbal attack to either players or fans of the other team. One could say that, it is part of the game’s culture in which battle of rival fans become a fuel for the excitement of the match. Nevertheless, fans begin to express the so-called culture by blatantly saying racist and sexist chants toward most of the black players and female staffs from the league. Recently, Eva Cairneiro, a British female medical specialist of the well-known Chelsea football club, has been reported to suffer from sexist chants by fans of Manchester United. It is not the first time that Carneiro has encountered this incident because she twice experienced the verbal obscenity and harassment during her assistance of Chelsea’s games against Arsenal club and Manchester City club. Cairnero’s harassment happened not only because of her attractive appearance, but also her position as one of a few women in the first-team set-up of the Premier League. Anyone from the Chelsea club could have be subjected to the offensive chants rather than Cainerio; however, she was the fans’ “favorite” for being minor in a working’s environment of predominant male staffs. Despite reviewing the footage of the incident, The Football Association of England‘s board did not take any action about the incident as there seemed to be apathy among the board’s members. Indeed, the board already showed attempt to empower fans with the “Kick it out” campaign against racism in which serious punishment is applied to any fan who starts a racist chant so having to deal with another form of discrimination seems unnecessary. One assumption could be that it is just fans’ nature during heated moment so it is alright not to take into account every issue in the league. The apathy among the board’s members may feed into widespread attitude among fans – no fear because what is there to fear when little concern is shown by the board.

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The “best” role model of the Premier League

While the case of Cainero’s harassment remains unaddressed, a new scandal involves sexism has emerges: The sex slur scandal by Richard Scudamore – The Premier League’s executive chief. English’s media is littered with Scudamore’s leaked sexist email in which he showed vulgarity and discrimination toward female. Although Scudamore recently publically apologized for his action, he still left a big disappointment in the public’s view. How can fans have hope for putting an end to sexism in the league where every individual should be respected for their qualification and contribution when sexism was shown by an authority whose mission is keep the image of the league with strong commitment in fighting for equality and increasing participation of women in football. Scudamore is highly angers the public more because he should be the role model with trustworthy words; however, they all now become a joke. What hope is left of the best soccer league in the world when their leader fails miserably in preserving the league’s image.

May-11-front-page-Sunday-Mirror

Repaint a better image of the league

As more and more women join the football industry, their professions are always being questioned and manipulated to show that they do not belong to the league or the game where only the predominant males from the clubs, the fans, and the FA will perceive this industry the best. When they are on the field, regardless of their backgrounds or positions, to the fans, their role hardly impacts the game, showing zero contribution in making it exciting. As rival fans taunt one to another, the females become the subjects of sexually offensive chants, which are often believed to add fascination to the game.

Another reason for sexism to exist and to be ignored is the fact that the issue of racism in the league has escalated, diverting media’s attention toward it. Now, there is no such thing as one issue should be addressed more significantly than another. They have been existing together, darkening the image of a top football league. As a definition of a best football league, it must show equality among people of different sexes. They give their best to fulfill their roles, building the success of the league. If one shows good qualification to be in the league, regardless of the roles, he or she is hired to have the league maintain its success. If the fans has the mission to channel their spirit into the players, so do other female staffs. For that reason, there should be mutual respects in and out of the league. A thorough plan and an immediate action should be taken to raise awareness about sexism which takes place in the league. The Premier League can view example of “Everyday sexism project” developed by Laura Bates who is a British feminist writer. Her goal of the project is to get the public’s attention on the extent to which sexist abuse and discrimination affect women in their everyday lives. By learning to see their struggles with sexist abuse, the league could start its own campaign so that the female staffs in the league will be treated with more respect, making the league better and better. If the league runs out of color to make its image vivid again, then asking other organizations to help shed some light on it.

[Comic by Joe Heller]

It seems that everyone who follows the NFL and the story of Michael Sam is worried. They are worried about the reputation of the league, about Michael Sam’s draft stock, and about how fans will react to him. But most of all, people are worried about the locker room. In blogs all over the web, the question has been posed time and again since Michael Sam came out as openly gay: how will his teammates in the NFL treat him?

Sports in America, and the world at large, are mired with drama. Athletes get arrested for reckless debauchery, coaches lose their jobs over sex scandals, and universities get put on probation for creepily preying on prospects. But one thing athletes and coaches always have to fall back on, to keep them insulated from the hellish world out there when things are going bad, is the team.

Sometimes, the team or organization will go entirely too far to preserve this insulation. Case in point: Penn State football. This program overlooked years of sketchy behavior and child abuse in their facilities to ‘protect’ a pedophile and the organization as a whole. In all actuality, the public relations backlash ended up being worse for it, but that is not really the point.

The point is that athletes and those involved in sports protect their own. There is something about the camaraderie of being part of a team that can transgress all social and political boundaries. We can look to the Yugoslavian national basketball team of the early 1990s and late 1980s, on which teammates from warring factions of Serbia and Yugoslavia were able to play together and get along. Who were the first individuals to accept Jackie Robinson as a peer in the major leagues? His teammates.

Why should we assume that Michael Sam will be treated any differently than so many other trailblazers by his teammates? The public seems to be looking over the fact that Sam played his best season in college after coming out to his teammates with no problems reported. There is no doubt in my mind that Sam will be fine.

A few months back, former Minnesota Viking punter Chris Kluwe was in the news for exposing special teams coach Mike Priefer as a bigoted homophobe. In an open letter to the public, Kluwe quoted Priefer as saying, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and nuke it til it glows”. Some would say this is a red flag for Sam, something indicative of deep-seated and institutionalized homophobia in the NFL that a coach would feel comfortable saying something so harsh. But what gives me hope for Michael Sam is the reaction that this brought from the players in the room:

“The room grew intensely quiet, and none of the players said a word for the rest of the meeting. The atmosphere was decidedly tense. I had never had an interaction that hostile with any of my teammates on this issue—some didn’t agree with me, but our conversations were always civil and respectful. Afterward, several told me that what Mike Priefer had said was ‘messed up’”.

The locker room is a place where everyone must have a thick hide to survive. You must be able to take shit, and dish shit out when the time comes. But so far it appears that, in at least one NFL locker room, outright hate-mongering will not be accepted.

Over the years, we have seen different examples of athletes using sports as a means to overcome social boundaries and oppressive attitudes. The fans, however, have not proven to be as tolerant. Instead of NFL players, we on Michael Sam’s side should be worried about those fans who come to games to binge drink and heckle players, or send death threats to the homes of athletes who have displeased them in some way. As a society, we should more often realize that the story of the crowd and the attitude of the spectators can be more compelling than the game itself.

Our test starts this fall.

Image

            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!!!!!!