By Daniel Shapiro and Ryan Shiner
Within hours of Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay, thousands of people replied to the New York Times website, Twitter and Facebook.
Sam, the former Missouri defensive linemen and SEC Defensive Player of the Year, went public on Sunday, about a month after Missouri’s last game of the season. Sam will likely be drafted into the NFL, which would make him the first openly gay player in the league.
Here are some of the comments found on the Internet Sunday.
Deadspin commenters responded rather positively to the news of Sam revealing his sexuality:
Doing it before the draft is so damned fantastic. It’s a virtual dare to all the GM’s in the NFL. Rough guess, as the 9th best DE prospect, that’d put him in the 3rd or 4th round or so. He’s staring down the NFL and forcing them to take a stance. Can’t applaud this enough.
I can’t imagine the confidence this guy has. I was a middling track cyclist and I was terrified of coming out while competing. I can’t imagine doing it in a sport where they NYT cares when you come out.
The real heroes here are his teammates. Dude came out to the entire squad in August, and it’s just making the news now? That’s some serious fraternity there.
Wishing all the best to him.
The spotlight is now squarely on the 32 NFL teams to show they are able to walk the talk.
I’ll be that guy.
I sincerely hope that he doesn’t drop in the draft, and teams are mature enough to realize his sexual orientation. But this isn’t a perfect world. An example just because the military dropped DaDt, doesn’t mean resistance to it doesn’t exist.
All that being said, I believe this hurts his draft stock. I honestly hope not, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t.
One of the few negative comments was concerned with Sam using his sexuality as a marketing tool.
as great as it is that we have a gay (soon-to-be) pro athlete, the cynic in me can’t help but think about how much this guy just made in marketing money. He won the race to become the gay Jackie Robinson.
Commenters on the New York Times article were also mainly supportive of Sam’s decision. The negative comments again focused on the timing of the announcement, specifically in relation to the story about the death of former MU swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, which broke two weeks ago.
This “revelation” will likely be welcomed at the Univ. of Missouri, where it will surely distract attention from the football program rape scandal involving the Mizzou swimmer who committed suicide in 2011. Attention will be paid the narcissist; attention will be withdrawn from his dubious teammates/predecessors; win-win.
Sean in AZ
Yeah….in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal, and you’re really not that important – get over yourself.
Fans need to let the NFL know very clearly that mistreatment of this young man is not acceptable.
I wished we lived in a world where people would say “..and?”.
instead, it’s a headline.
Best of luck to this brave young man.
Now if only some leading lights in professional football (other than the wonderful Chris Kluwe) speak out and support Mr. Sam’s in coming out. Calling you Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and the like.
It is beyond pathetic when a dog killer and felons of all sorts are welcome with open arms and a gay player is shunned or given a cold shoulder.
Thank you, Michael. I’m gay, and I haven’t mustered enough courage yet to tell my family, but you’ve reassured me that you don’t have to follow the status quo; your sexual orientation doesn’t have to define you as a person. I wish you continued success my brother!
Commenters on espn.com had a mix of reactions:
“ill take “openly gay NFL player” over “ignorant straight ESPN commenter” any day.
rock on michael sam, this is incredible news”
Michael Sam is the real deal, if he isnt drafted or is drafted low, it will be because of this. War Eagle and, just for today, Go Mizzou!
And we’re supposed to cheer for this guy, why? Gotta laugh when a guy like this seems to think he’s special and deserves some special recognition. He’s an immoral and sinful pervert and that’s it. But in this day and age, that’s reason for accolades.
Here’s the problem I have with the whole gay community. Many of the community state that they don’t want to be treated any different, but consistently expect special treatment. If you don’t want to be treated any different, then stop making such a big deal out of you being gay. Also, it is inappropriate, for someone dress, undress, and/or shower around those they MAY be attracted to. Think about it. If it wasn’t inappropriate, then there wouldn’t be separate locker rooms for women and men. Think about the absolute outrage that would happen if a straight guy was to dress, undress, and/or shower in a locker room filled with women. Everyone would freak out!
This news isn’t important in terms of studying the player. It’s important because of the historical significance. This is one of the last barriers that have yet to be crossed in sports: an openly gay player in the NFL. Of course it’s big news.
Takes a lot of courage to do what he is doing — BEFORE the draft, no less. Good for him.
Twitter meanwhile, was a mixed bag of reactions. First, the positive:
Meg Grogan @Megan_Colleen_
Congrats Michael Sam! That takes courage!#Mizzou
Andrew Bany @Bayknee
Bobby Low @BobbyLowMU
We don’t have to look far for a classy example of #MentalToughness! Proud Missouri Tiger! Michael Sam #Courage!
I have no idea what “mizzou” is (beyond obviously a football team), but I find their support for @MikeSamFootball commendable. #sportsball
Others comments were less supportive:
Chris Medlock @cmedlock1
I hope Michael Sam goes undrafted simply for his sexual orientation.
Thomas Ciluffo @TShoof7
Michael Sam can’t wait for the NFL locker room.#heyynow#MichaelSam#allthosemen#hopefullyenoughtime#draftstockfalling
Hunter Powell @_Hunter_Dean_
Michael Sam will now be now be looked at as a national hero. Still does nothing for the fact that he is a (expletive deleted).
Nicholas Schlott @TheNickSchlott
Michael Sam, congrats on coming out dude. But you seriously hurt your draft stock, nobody wants a (expletive deleted) on their team. Except the jets.
Outsports.com, a website focusing on gay athletes, had a strong positive response toward the news:
Good for him.
I hope he does great.
Yeah…Good for Michael…
He is a Trailblazer, for sure! Best of Luck to you in your career! You owned your story. It may be tough going for a short while, but you will come out of it as the man who began this journey…a man with the maturity to accept who he is, the respect of those who know you, a man with the talent and ability to succeed, and a man who will inspire many others. Godspeed and Thank You!
This might be it
He is an obvious NFL prospect, likely in rounds 3-5. He came out at a time where he has NO leverage whatsoever over his career, so no accusations of fame can be ascribed. This really might be it. Good Luck to you Michael! I hope you get drafted and finally knock that damn NFL closet door down.
very brave of him to come out as a draft prospect. this is gonna be a benchmark to see how the NFL movement is towards gays. if one team takes a chance and drafts him, it could start a ripple effect. this might be exactly what the closeted gay nfl players need. good for michael sam and hope he gets drafted! hoping my texans take him!
Proud to be a Missouri student and Tiger fan tonight, hope my Chiefs can keep him in state, regardless, I’m proud of him and will root for him wherever he may end up
If the Denver Broncos could draft Tim Tebow and endure the “publicity circus” that surrounded him a team can endure Michael Sam and his scrutiny.
Wonderful news. Congratulations Michael. So glad he was able to tell his truth in his own way. I hope it does not hurt his draft prospects, but I think overall it will be better for him for it to come out now and that way it takes the emotional weight of the secret off his shoulders as he tries to begin his NFL career. So proud of him.