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Michael Sam's Coming Out Has Double-Standard Written All Over It

by chris stephens
May 18, 2014 4:57 PM EDT



To kick this off, I will preface this by saying this is merely an observation and that in no way, shape or form, am I homophobic or hate homosexuals. My opinion is simply, if you're good enough to play in the NFL, you should play regardless of your race or sexual preference. With that said...

Former Missouri Tigers football player Michael Sam announced his sexual orientation to the world in the months leading up to the NFL Draft. Since then, and since he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, his story has gotten a lot of air time on TV.

Here's one thing that I think is important to remember. We're constantly told that what somebody does in the bedroom is nobody's business. But yet, it's not being treated as a two-way street. If it really is none of my business, then why was there a press conference proclaiming it to the world, multiple press releases, t-shirts printed, an interview on 20-20, a now on hold documentary by Oprah Winfrey, etc.?

I have no problem with what somebody does in the privacy of their bedroom. But when it starts getting forced down my throat, that's where I have issues. I also wonder if Sam would have been a first- or second-round talent if we would have seen him come out? His agent most likely would have advised against it because that could have cost him money due to a likely fall in the draft. I truly believe that Sam knew he had really no shot at getting drafted. So, he used his "coming out" as a way to guarantee he would get drafted.
When Tim Tebow expressed his faith, multiple outlets and pundits told him to sit down and shut up. They didn't want him forcing his beliefs down their throats. Jake Plummer wanted Tebow to "shut up" with the Jesus talk. And also think about it, no player was fined for voicing their displeasure for Tebow being what they viewed as overly religious. But when Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins tweeted about Michael Sam after "the kiss," he was fined for his tweet. Is this not a double-standard? It's basically saying that people who disagree with an athlete's right-side view can say anything they want, while people who disagree with an athlete's left-side view are going to get fined and/or suspended.

The Rams are now in a position where if they don't keep Sam on the roster, people will believe it has nothing to do with his football ability and have everything to do with the fact that he is gay.

As I expect, there will be hateful comments that come as a result of this, but it's a dialogue that needs to happen. We as a society have to quit having a double standard on issues. You either find it acceptable to talk about their personal life or you don't—you can't have it both ways.