Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Sam I Am" (With Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

“Sam I Am” (With Apologies to Dr. Seuss)
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
February 12, 2014

“I’m Michael Sam. I’m an American. I’m a college graduate. I’m gay.”

That’s what Sam, a University of Missouri defensive end said on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” program.

Whoopty-freaken-do. Know what impresses me most? Michael Sam is a college graduate. Mazal tov for accomplishing what far too many so-called student athletes do not – earning a degree to make them a marketable citizen in the world outside the arena of sports. So whether Sam plays in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, overseas or never again, he should have no trouble finding gainful employment.

Or will he?

“You’re an inspiration to all of us,” Tweeted Michelle Obama. An inspiration? Not so fast, Mrs. Obama. If anything, Sam will be a detriment to both himself and the NFL.

Bring on the media circus. Playing in a team sport, Sam will garner infinitely more attention than he ought because of his off field announcement than anyone will earn for their on field accomplishments. Players – both teammates and opponents will be fielding all sorts of potentially uncomfortable questions, and regardless of what occurs behind the closed doors of the locker room, players with an ounce of common sense will say little to nothing for fear of being labeled homophobic. Most will simply smile and spout the party line about the importance of putting the best team out of the field every Sunday.

And I agree with that. Sam did himself a disservice. He should be drafted if his skills warrant. He should attend pre-season practice and workouts trying his damndest to make the team just as all other invitees do. If he makes the final roster, good for him. If not, will there be questions as to bias against the first openly gay player?

Will the NFL scrutinize every hit Sam endures while on the field of play as a potential hate crime? Football is a tough game and it requires its players to be tough – both on the inside and on the outside as the situation with the Miami Dolphins players Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin demonstrated last season.

Make no mistake, I am not suggesting any player be bullied because he is sensitive, as may have been the case in the Dolphins locker room, or because he is a religious minority, or because he is gay. But, there is a culture in locker rooms that transcends sports. Sam may make straight players uncomfortable – which is their problem, not Sam’s; but Sam also needs to prepare himself for a cold shoulder from teammates as well – acceptance of a chosen lifestyle is not a mandate or a law – at least not yet, if the politically correct bullies have their way.

In fact, it is the politically correct crowd – the so-called mainstream media, the anti-First Amendment-unless-you-agree-with-them-word-for-word crowd, and other guilt-ridden liberal-progressives who are attempting to co-opt American society with a homosexual movement seemingly larger than it is. Gays consist of roughly 10 percent of the population, yet they have corporate America on its heels for fear of offending someone and the potential boycott that may follow.

It’s time to say “enough.” Enough kow-towing to a minority who, while entitled to their choice in sexual orientation, still behave in a way that the majority find, to say the least, off-putting. Being gay is a choice and one not entitled to any special treatment or protection by law in the United States. If gays wish to boycott a business, I know there will be plenty of people wishing to support that business for defending family values and moral decency.

I no more care if there is a gay player on my favorite team any more than I support the evils of affirmative action. I want the best 11 players on the football field; the nine best on the baseball field; the five best on the basketball court; the ablest attorney, doctor, accountant, plumber, and electrician period. I want the best – regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Those three characteristics are irrelevant and they should be kept to oneself.

Even Sam’s own father, Michael Sam, Sr. expressed his discomfort with his son’s lifestyle choice. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. [I’m] old school; a man and a woman kind of guy,” said Sam, Sr. adding he uncomfortable with a gay player in the NFL, but that he loves his son and hopes he makes it to the league. (

That Michael Sam, Jr. chose to announce his sexual predilections is on him. He must now live with the consequences – positive or negative. I don’t care if Sam is gay; I just don’t need to see the parade pass by my window.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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