The more I read about Michael Sam and the reaction of people to his announcement, the more I feel the need to voice my opinion. This goes beyond what I choose, or my beliefs and really focuses on what as a society we choose to accept and not accept. These are my own opinions and not a reflection of everyone at CincyJungle.
When did it become ok for professional sports to deviate so far from the laws and rules that govern the rest of society? In the case of pro sports, athletes and organizations are held to different standards than the rest of the US workforce and no one seems to blink an eye at it.
In what other workplace arena would mainstream society consider it ok to openly question whether a gay person could be welcomed or a distraction to other employees?
There are far too many things that are looked past when it comes to professional sports. In baseball we question athletes about performance enhancing drugs and if people should be voted into the hall of fame if there are suspicions around their use. We debate whether steroids are good or bad for the sport. Never once is the fact brought in that most of these drugs are illegal in the United States and players found to be in violation are not subject to the same regulations you or I would be.
In college football we recently were rocked with a scandal around child abuse and involved parties covering it up because the coaches involved were really good for the program. People came out in support of individuals that knowingly hid facts that allowed the abuse to continue.
Professional athletes are commonly arrested and we see trial dates aligned to bye weeks or off-season times. If Joe the mechanic gets popped for DUI and punching his girlfriend, they are not going to take into account the big engine rebuild he has coming up when they look to judge him for his crimes.
The NFL openly employees athletes and coaches who use drugs, drive drunk, assault women and on occasion have killed people. Yet we have the audacity to question whether allowing someone who prefers the company of the same gender is ok or not. What is wrong with this picture?
Articles are popping up all over the internet about why certain teams won't draft Michael Sam not because of his personal life but because he does not fit their systems. Unless these sites are going to write the same posts about the 200+ other players in the draft then they are feeding into the problem.
The merits of Michael Sam should be based on how he plays the game of football. As the SEC defensive player of the year, it is safe to assume he plays it pretty well.
The bottom line is, the NFL along with other pro sports needs to align the polices that govern the "employees" more closely to that of what the rest of corporate America adheres to.