(Photo Credit: AP Photos/GM Andrews)
If you’ve turned on a TV in the past five months then you know all about Michael Sam. If you don’t know who Michael Sam is, you should come out of the rock you are currently living under.
Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player in NFL history when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. He has been analyzed, debated about, criticized, and praised for everything from his draft combine to kissing his boyfriend on live television.
It’s obvious to anyone that has heard Michael Sam’s story that things haven’t always been easy. Sam witnessed his brother being shot and killed, has two older brothers who are both in prison, and has a brother who has been missing since 1998. His parents separted when he was younger. He was criticized by his mother for wanting to play football when he was younger, who did not agree with Sam pursuing football because of her religion (she is a Jehovah’s Witness).
As you can tell, Michael Sam didn’t have it easy. Yet, he was able to raise above all of that and realize his dream of becoming an NFL player. It’s clear that Michael Sam is more than a football player, but it’s unfair to use him for headlines on an article. Michael Sam is a football player. Sam is a obviously a fighter. He doesn’t want your sympathy or special attention because of who he loves. Michael Sam wants to be a football player.
Now that you are all caught up, let’s talk football.
St. Louis reports to training camp on July 24th. Like every seventh round pick, Michael Sam is going to have to battle for a roster spot, while also having the media watch his every move. His dream is to make the Ram’s roster, by focusing a spotlight on him, it will only make things harder than they need to be. If Sam does make the roster, he will have to continue to battle to make a career.
From a football standpoint, Sam is small defensive end and a slow outside linebacker. He had 9 of his 11.5 sacks last season came in three games. He had a poor combine and ultimately ended up as a seventh round pick. He plays for a team that already has a stacked defensive line, which may be the best d-line in the league. If you expect Michael Sam to make St. Louis, you may be disappointed.
For those of you that want to support Michael Sam, I advise you to view him as a football player. Football is his job. Let the man work and compete. The media cycle of anything and everything Michael Sam isn’t needed. How would you like someone watching you with a magnified glass while you worked? Let’s not make him the next Tim Tebow.
So other media sources, take a lesson from Pro Football 366. Stop asking current and former coaches, GMs, players, equipment managers, and journalists about whether or not they’d draft Sam (like Tony Dungy was asked) or if he is going to be a locker room distraction. By doing so, you will make him a locker room distraction and your only subjecting others to criticism for their own opinions. Give the guy a fair chance to succeed by giving the guy some space.
If you didn’t catch the point of this article, I’ll reiterate it: Let Michael Sam play football.
As for Pro Football 366, we cover football. We will only discuss Michael Sam if it has some football context. Just like every other rookie, we wish Michael Sam luck as he begins his life in the NFL.