Real Life Badass: Michael Sam Becomes The First Openly Gay NFL Draft Pick
I don't follow football! I don't know much about Michael Sam as a player, although I see that he was named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, which is certainly better than I could have done. But what I do know is that after finishing his college football career Michael Sam did something really courageous and came out as gay. And today he was drafted into the St. Louis Rams, making him the first openly gay NFL draft pick. Should he play (and they'll play him just to make history, right?) he'll be the first openly gay player in NFL history.
That's big. That's a wall not quite coming down but getting a hole knocked in it. We can see the light beaming through; when equality comes to the manliest of sports we know we're making progress.
Remember: progress is slow. It comes in fits and starts. Michael Sam could end up being the only openly gay NFL draft pick for a long time. But he's broken the barrier, and eventually others will follow. And in a few years it'll be just commonplace that gay men play on NFL teams. It'll be just as unnoticed as black men playing major league baseball.
When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB in 1947, Pee Wee Reese stood up for the man and said something simple yet profound. I want to paraphrase it here:
"You can hate a man for many reasons. Who he loves is not one of them."