Football Reacts to Michael Sam Coming Out


"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage," the statement reads. "Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."

Despite the league’s statement, it will be up to teams to make the decision on whether or not to sign Sam. There have previously been several NFL players who came out, but only after their careers were over. Unidentified NFL coaches and executives told Sports Illustrated that they think Sam's draft stock will suffer because of his announcement.

“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” an NFL player personnel assistant told SI. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

Brendon Ayanbadejo, a “straight ally” who played in the league from 2003 to 2012, addressed the NFL’s tolerance in a column for Fox Sports.

“Now his biggest hurdle is entering a league that has never had an openly gay player. A league that reaches headlines several times a year due to its lack of acceptance and inclusion of and from its players,” Ayanbadejo wrote. “Will the NFL prove us all wrong or will it continue to be considered one of the last bastions of homophobia?”

Last season, four players were reportedly planning on coming out on the same day – a way to deflect the impact of the news – but those announcements never occurred.

Now, Sam could be the first.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Gisele Bundchen walks the runway during Sao Paulo Fashion Week Winter 2015 on Nov. 4, 2014 in Sao Paulo.
Studio Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images
PHOTO: Seattle Seahawks fans cheer before Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots on Feb. 1, 2015 in Glendale, Ariz.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
PHOTO: Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady attend the Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City.
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
PHOTO: From left, Tom Brady in Foxborough, Mass., Jan. 18, 2015 and Russell Wilson in Seattle, Wash., Jan. 18, 2015.
Matt Slocum/AP Photo | Ted S. Warren/AP Photo