Michael Sam: Changing the Game


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photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

By Sterling Martinez

Most of the rookies on a football team have a hard enough time proving their skill.

Michael Sam, who recently stated publicly that he is homosexual, may have the added task of convincing his teammates that he is only interested in being their teammate. This is a task that he frankly shouldn’t have to worry about. Being on a football team, he should only feel responsible for playing well and being a part of the team, just as any other rookie would have to.
Sam is now practicing with the Dallas Cowboys as a player on the practice squad. He has been reportedly doing a good job, and if he keeps this up, there should be no issues with his performance but unfortunately he might have to deal with more hazing than a straight player may face, do merely to possible prejudice.

On any team, there should be the same amount of sportsmanship and camaraderie for every player of the team, no matter their sexual orientation. The other players may feel uncomfortable, but at the end of the day Sam does have a boyfriend who he is in a loving and committed relationship with. Just because a man may be homosexual does not mean that he will lack a sense of boundaries or is attracted to every man he sees naked.

It is unfair to stereotype, not just Sam but any other gay man. It is unrealistic to say that just because it is 2014 and society has evolved quite a bit that there still is not work needed to improve on being a more open minded, objective and tolerant society.

Football players already have a stereotype of being barbaric. Not accepting Sam due to his sexuality would not only add to this very stereotype but also add to the notion that “jocks” are homophobic. I agree with Morgan Freeman who had a valid argument in 2012 when he tweeted “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You are not scared. You are [a jerk,].”

Treating Sam or any gay player differently is a very ignorant concept that all athletes should not consider. How will people ever achieve things if they cannot work together and treat their teammates fairly, respectfully and the same as they treat all others?

Maybe the reasons behind people being homophobic or uncomfortable around homosexuals are a little unknown, but the proper way to treat people shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish. It is pretty cut and dry. Treat people how you want to be treated. Would you want to be excluded and have people act awkward around you just for being yourself, or being in love with someone of your same gender?

Put yourselves in Sam’s or anybody’s shoes and walk around in them by thinking of how you would feel in different situations and after experiencing negative and uninviting reactions from other people, who he’s supposed to be developing a friendship with. What would you want? How would you feel? Now remember these steps and be the best team you can be, by treating people the right way. Even if you feel you have reasons not to, or that you cannot always have a choice, you will always be held accountable for who you are, what you do and most of all how you treat other people. It’s up to you.