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'This Week': Michael Sam Panel

Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler, and NFL punter Chris Kluwe on Michael Sam and the NFL.
3:00 | 02/16/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Michael Sam Panel
For this week, David Wright, ABC news, Los Angeles. Thanks to David for that. Pete thamel, cyd Zeigler, and NFL punter, Chris kluwe. Welcome to you all. Let's begin with you. You wrote a story in "Sports illustrated." It stirred up controversy. Even though NFL officials like roger Goodell have been supportive, you quoted several off the record that he has a daunting path. The NFL's not ready for him. One said it's a man's-man game. Do you stand by the reporting? Do you think the private comments are more reflective or the public support? Acceptable this is a seminal moment in culture and sports. But Michael Sam has a barrier to break. And the NFL looks at him skeptively. And there's the dreaded word, distraction, that keeps coming up. That's the next step. A strong owner, general manager, a strong coach to draft Michael Sam. He's not a slam dunk prospect. His prospects to get in. But on this other question of how welcoming the league is going to be if he gets in. But this Richie incognito report out of Miami does reinforce the views of those who say this is going to be a hard fight. Jim and I on outsports, we have written about 200 athletes who came out publicly in every sport, including football, at every level in every state of the country. Every one says the same thing, before they came out, they heard a lot of homophobia on the team. When they came out, they were embraced by the team. This includes a football player at middle Tennessee state, he was out the entire four years. After they are coming out, and they are embraced by their teammates, and the people who are the most homophobic are the first guys to come up and shake their hand and apologize. All the stuff about the horrors of the NFL locker room is overblown. You spent eight years in NFL locker rooms. I agree with cyd. It's very much if you haven't been inside an NFL locker room, you don't understand the camaraderie, the teamwork that goes on in there. When you're in the locker room, you spend more time with your teammates than your family. You're there for 10, 11, 12 hours a day. You get to know them well. I've always said I think the main problems is going to come from the executives and front office. They are stuck in the older mind set and mentality. They need to figure out, do they want to be Ricky or chaplain. You believe you were cut because you were outspoken on gay rights. You spent time with Michael Sam last Saturday before the announce. Is he ready for all this? He is as much as he can be. I don't know that anyone's ever ready for a moment like that. But he's well-prepared. He's an intelligent, articulate young man. And has the tools to deal with those isolated incidents where people are going to have issues with him because of his sexuality. I think he'll be okay. Those are the psychological issues. You were pointing out the physical barriers ahead facing Michael Sam. Some people say he's not fast or big enough. Do you think, bottom line, that the act of coming out increases or decreases his chances? I think, George, on the bottom line, it would decrease it. I had a former general manager tell me, in an NFL draft room, when you are sitting there, okay, we pick in five spots. Pick between these three players, the general manager said that could break a tie. If wear in the sixth round, do we want to bring in the dreaded d-word, the distraction? The general manager said wouldn't be good for a first-year head coach. There are a lot of sort of built-in excuses. NFL people are risk averse at the end of the day. I'm optimistic for Michael Sam. It's a wonderful story. I hope he gets a true chance and show what he can do on the field. Could be different than Jason Collins who was at the end of his career in the NBA. But this could be a struggle. Why is it that we in the media brought the struggle to the story? There's no evidence that this is going to be a struggle -- Getting into the league? Why a struggle? Why anymore so than for anybody else? The NFL teams, their whole goal is to get to the biggest media circus and the most distracting game of the entire season, the super bowl. And we are putting out there that some general manager's going worry about a couple cameras showing up at practice and asking a few questions? If a general manager and a coach cannot handle a gay player in the locker room, they should resign. Not because of social justice issues, but if that can torpedo your season, you're not doing your job. Do you think it will make a difference? Image it will. And I think it's unfortunate. There are general managers who believe this way. And we need to hold them accountable. Not let them get away with excuses of he's not the right fit or maybe he doesn't quite work well with the locker room chemistry. It's our job to say that Michael Sam deserves a fair chance, not because he's gay, but because he's a football player and he wants to go out and play football. We hope he gets a fair chance. You can read an excerpt of Chris kluwe's book, "Beautifully unique sparkle ponies" on "This week." And when we come back, Kevin spacey from "House of cards" is here live. There he is.ck, Kevin

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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