LGBT in sports; will Michael Sam be drafted to the NFL?

by
in ask on (#3KA)
Forbes has an interesting article today reminding us about Michael Sam and his prospects for being drafted to the NFL . Michael Sam achieved considerable notoriety several months ago when he came out as a gay football player who happened to be the SEC defensive player of the year and who would become the first openly gay man to star in the NFL if drafted by a team this weekend.

My question for Pipedot: regardless of teams' decisions to draft Sam or not, will the decisions be accepted as based on his skills or football ability alone or will they be judged in terms of their support for or avoidance of support for homosexuality in American football? And, what are the central obstacles to people being judged on skills alone when competing for opportunities (I'm thinking about ageing programmers and so on as similar-type challenges)?

Re: Yes (Score: 3, Interesting)

by marqueeblink@pipedot.org on 2014-05-12 01:01 (#1H0)

The other owners owe the Rams big time. The NFL would've looked plenty bad if Sam had gone undrafted.

Sam was rated as a 4th to 6th round talent (the draft has 7 rounds). In the past, players who had won the award that Sam got (SEC defensive player of the year) have usually been drafted within the first two rounds, but strangely enough, many of them haven't been particularly successful in the NFL - that factored into the '4th to 6th round' projection, along with the fact that Sam is not considered to be a prototypical NFL defensive lineman or linebacker in terms of size, speed, atheleticism, etc.

Still, had he not come out he probably would've been drafted by some team before the 7th round. Why was he not? Because football squads are large, and there's a certain macho mindset that can't be completely controlled, just as in the military which struggles with gay and sexual harassment/assault issues. If the entire coaching staff and 95 percent of the players were fine with having a gay teammate, that 5 percent could still create plenty of trouble that could detract from the team's effort to make the playoffs and then win a championship. And what if Sam turns out to be a bit of a diva, giving interviews in the press about the problems that gays face in football and society? That was too much of a risk for every team in the league except one.
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