So wonderful! Last night there were a bunch of people insisting we all read this fantastic story on Outsports about the meticulous planning that went into this. And the tremendous support gathered along the way. Really inspirational.
I read that he was projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round. Not to take anything away from his announcement but you may be overreaching on "top".
How do you know he's a top pick?

Good News / Bad News :
Michael Sam came out to the entire squad in August, and it's just making news now. Sounds like that team has a lot of great people.
Sasha Menu Courey, a former swimmer at U. of Missouri, committed suicide in June '11 after being raped by a member of the school's football team and having it ignored by the school's authorities.
Bravo to him for his courage.

These "controversies" only exist in the heads of older bigots; nobody under 40 could give a fuck that he's gay.
Sam is probably the 15th to 17th ranked defensive end in the 2014 draft, but his size is a bit small for an NFL defensive end so teams are likely going to try to convert him to a 3-4 outside linebacker to utilize his pass-rushing ability.

As such, I doubt he goes off the board before the fifth round, and there is a good chance this announcement will hurt his draft stock.

Michael Sam is coming out in an environment which is still hostile towards who he is, and for coming out in the midst of that, he deserves a great deal of kudos. Sam is a hero because he is making his own life much harder so that others can have it better.
@4: I wish you were right about the "over 40" thing, but you simply are not.
if we get enough of them out and willing, can we have USA's gay athletes play against russia's straight ones? any sport will do.

that'd be 10 times more fun to watch than these bullshitty olympics.
There is some dispute about whether his "mid-round" draft projection reflects scouting assessments of his talent, or reflects "concerns" about his orientation that have been an "open secret" within his college program and amongst NFL scouts who, it is confirmed, have been sniffing around about the issue for a while. Hard to say, but if he falls below that mid-round projection, it's safe to say the announcement negatively affected his draft position. Sam indicates that he believed he had no choice but to say something given the rumors, but it doesn't make the decision to publicly come out any less brave. Also, this kid is 24 years old. Perhaps an older, veteran player will find the same courage and come out to support him. Not holding my breath though.
Anonymous NFL executives... let me guess... white, protestant, heterosexual, older, wealthy, men. Right?

I'm shocked - shocked! - that they would be homophobes.
Amongst (allegedly) closeted players, perhaps this guy would be a good candidate to come out and support Mr. Sam:…

True? Who knows. He, of course, denies:…
@3 I've talked to friends who watch the NFL prospects incessantly and have it as their main hobby. They're to a man convinced that--excluding his sexuality--this guy is a no-brainer choice somewhere between the late 2nd round and more likely mid 3rd to mid 4th round draft pick. He's not quite as fast as other prospects for outside linebacker or defensive end, his two positions. He's the exact right size and weight for OLB for his age and a touch small for DE. For those that don't know football, think of the 3 to 4 guys that line up on the ground facing the offense, when on defense. The ones who have to "kill the quarterback" or stop the guy running. That is Sam's job.

The consensus was that barring sexuality and injury there is zero possibility this guy isn't on the final 55 man roster for an NFL team in September playing active football. He would almost certainly be a backup/second string for defense and a starter for special teams (the guys that kick the football on kick offs, punts and field goals), probably specializing in special teams defense. Beyond that is anyone's guess, but like I said--barring being gay or getting injured, this guy plays in the NFL in September 2014.
But as others have said here already, there are questions swirling of whether or not his ranking is accurate (this happens from time to time) and of whether or not those questions are a 'polite' way of saying 'because gay'. Realistically, no matter what, remove gay from the equation and he stays healthy he plays special teams football in the NFL at a minimum for a couple years.
It should also be stated that neither free agency nor the draft combine has happened yet, so anyone who is seriously attemtping to attach draft grades to mid-round players is pretty much talking out of their ass at this point.

Not that it has ever stopped anyone...
@13 pretty much, but this is an art form and national past time for the ultra hard core NFL pundits and fans. I never even can remember when the hell the draft is some years.
The fact that his teammates knew, kept his secret (not easy on a team of 90+ guys), and voted him MVP bodes well for future locker rooms I'd say. Good luck to him
Yay, but the verbage wreaks of Howard Bragman "I am living my truth" PR speak.

Just kind of annoying.
@14: Oh don't I know it, I was talking about myself there too, I love draft time.

I read a lot of football blogs, and it should be said to everyone that today an almost all of them this was a top story, and in the comment threads there are tons of people calling out homophobia and declaring their support for Sam.

People making the "it is fine, just keep it out of my face" argument are being roundly rebuked and their bigotry called out.

This would not have happened even ten, let alone twenty years agom, and really shows how the equality movement for gays is an unstoppable force. It is changing the way society interacts and sees itself, not just changing the laws, and as such the fight is already won.

Now it is just time to mop up the stragglers.
This is ectremely brave. U of Miss diploma probably would not get him anywhere near the $ of a NFL salary. Can the Hawks draft him?
@1 I'm assuming you were replying more to @5. My questioning of Dan's use of "top" was more in relation to being gay than football skill.
I'm an NFL guy, though not a draftnik and haven't seen Sam play (that I know of), but your assessment sounds like what Kiper has been saying. Just remember, lots of "can't miss" guys end up not making active rosters as rookies for a lot of different reasons. I think his draft slot will mean more, politically, than his eventual career.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a bigot say what gay people can't do. Can't be parents. Can't be teachers. Can't be soldiers. Can't be married. Can't work in libraries. Can't, can't can't. Now they can't be NFL pro. People are sick of the bullshit lies.
Um, @11.
I have absolutely zero interest in his sexual orientation. Good for him, I suppose.

My question: Can he stop the run? Can he rush the passer? Can he get off his blocks?

If he's a good player, I'd love to watch him play. If he's not, he needs to go the fuck away.
@9 Hey, Catlicks play 'Murkin Handball, too. Exhibit A: Notre Dame. Too lazy to look up any actual NFL dudes to see if this applies.

Otherwise, yeahhhhh.
@23: Word. Gay, straight, special-snowflake-tumblr-sexual, I just want to see defensive players who can make tackles!
As a passionate ally and sports fan, I'm happy as hell for him. But as a jaded cynic, I'll just point out that Jason Collins is better than plenty of current backup centers right now and would likely be on a NBA roster were it not for his recent revelation.
The bottom line is the guy can play, so he's going to get drafted. It's going to take a team who realizes the rewards far outweigh whatever risk they're taking. A lot of people were down on Russell Wilson because supposedly he was too short to play QB in the NFL, and look where he is now. The teams who passed on him that could have used a QB now seem like idiots.

I think the team that will draft him will be a winning team, with a strong coach and many strong personalities, where Michael Sam will not be main story, and can simply focus on playing football. It wouldn't surprise me if the Seahawks drafted him.
@4: You know, I'm sick of assholes like you stating that discrimination is practiced only by old, white people. It's bullshit. If you think there's not anti-gay sentiment among people under 40 you need to leave Capitol Hill once in a while.
Those were anonomous team execs, not actualy execs from the league. The NFL (the actual league) issued a statement which reads:

"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."

I think it is fair to say the NFL (as in the actual league execs) are wanting to put the homophobic/anti-gay label behind them. Those "NFL execs" quoted in the article are team execs and probably mostly former players. They obviously have a different persepective and agenda. But they will come around quickly.
The part that gets me is that the reaction from other players is overwhelmingly supportive while execs have these I'm-not-a-homophobe-hold-still-while-I-homophobe comments. The guys who get their brains turned to helmet mush are either fine with this or smart enough to keep their yaps shut.
@ 30 - To be fair, what I have hears is mostly what Dan calls concern trolling (i.e., that the execs would love it if the league were at a place where it wouldn't be a big deal, but they are worried that it would be a problem with players, sort of like the unit cohesion argument with the military). It isn't so much homophobia as lack of courage. It is more that they don't want to be the exec that took the risk if it does turn out to be a problem.
@26 I think he was just over the hill. Sam is at beginning of career.
I found a great & easy solution to the massive misogyny, violence, homophobia, and suffering caused by football.
Also, Dan wonders how teams could be that concerned about the media attention and distraction caused by his coming out, but players regularly drop in the draft because of the types of things he mentions (arrests, DUIs, etc) as well as things that are distractions, but not necessarily character issues--Manti Te'o anyone?
One important thing to note: The Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, has a younger brother who is gay, so he is unlikely to tolerate any harassment or discrimination against Michael Sam.
Does anyone else think that "highlights" video sucks? Just a handful of tackles and way too much extra bullshit filler. He's a strong player, they should have been able to fill most of the time showing him actually making plays.
Beefcakes trotting around in tight pants, throwing turd-coloured oblong balls to each other while bending over and taking orders, with team names like "Oilers" and "Packers" and "Cowboys".

Football is already gay. This guy just came out about it.

And as usual, The Onion sums it up best:…
@ 33, if there was any link between football and those ills you list, then football is caused by those things, not the other way around.

Treat the disease, not the symptoms.
Someone tell Coach Carroll to draft this boy pronto! Show the world how Champions really behave.
Kudos to Michael Sam.

And this is crass, but dude is hot as fuck. Unf. *insert sexually-related football metaphor here*

40: Football is absolutely a cause. Not only is sexism & extreme violence written into the rules, but it exists to glorify the worst behavior in humanity. And there is no accountability for any awful behavior (except maybe dogfighting?).

I'm all for regulating the hell out of football - but I'm sure it would be easier and have the same effect to just ban it. No current football fans would want to watch a socially just, nonviolent version of football.
@ 43 - You say football is a cause of these things. I think it is a better argument that violent sports serve as a relatively healthy outlet for those things that are inherent in us. Violent sports didn't originate here, nor are ours particularly violent in the big picture.
I’m going to put the “sexism & extreme violence” of a game played by 1%ers against other 1%ers pretty low on my “social concerns” list.

Having a hard time caring much that a bunch of millionaires are “socially unjust” and violent with each other in the context of a game.

In 1947, front office executives for Major League Baseball didn't think the league was ready for a black player. One of the biggest reasons was the culture of the clubhouse and, at first, Jackie did not shower after the games with his teammates in order to avoid making anyone uncomfortable.

One teammate, Eddie Stanky, approached him and bluntly said, “... Before I play with you, I want you to know that I don’t like it. I want you to know that I don’t like you.” Many other members of the team also shared Stanky’s sentiment, and were anything but supportive and accepting of their new teammate—so much so in fact, that a group of players soon circulated a petition protesting his participation on the team.

In a game against the Phillies, opposing manager Ben Chapman informed his players that anyone who did not “go after” Jackie would be fined $5,000. But although the Phillies complied with his demand, jeering such insults such as, “Nigger, go back to the cotton fields,” Jackie managed to play solid ball, leading his team to victory with a one-hit three-stolen-base performance.

And at one point during the game, the Phillies’s insults were interrupted by none other than Dodger Eddie Stanky, who retorted, “Why don’t you yell at somebody who can answer back?”

Stanky—the man who just a short while ago was leading an effort to prevent Jackie from joining the Dodgers—was now actively defending him. And soon many of Jackie’s other teammates also began opening up to him, as they grew to admire and respect not only his outstanding play and general attitude, but also the character, dignity, inner strength, and composure he had while dealing with the very difficult environment he faced on a day-to-day basis.

A veteran Dodger said of him, 'Having Jackie on the team is still a little strange, just like anything else that's new. We just don't know how to act with him. But he'll be accepted in time."
#43 Is right. Before modern American Football was invented in 1869, there was no violence or sexism. Further bolstering her point, the world has only gotten more sexist and more violent since the mid-1800s.

One of my great grandparents has a fascinating story about how after watching that fateful Rutgers v. Princeton game, everyone got hyper violent, and sexism was invented in the bloody aftermath.

In order for better education, Raku, would you mind telling us exactly where the rules are in the NFL rulebook that make excessive violence and sexism a mandatory part of the game? I can't seem to find them, thanks!
@43: Extreme violence isn't actually written into the rules. If you actually read them, you'll see that body blows are encouraged, and many different hits capable of causing injuries to the joints or to the CNS are outright banned. After the play is over, or when a player is giving himself up, anything more than incidental contact is usually grounds for a personal foul. Throwing a punch, deliberately kicking an opponent, or similar violent conduct is grounds for immediate ejection.
Where do you see sexism in the rules of football? Is it because it's a sport played mostly by men? There are women's football leagues, and it would be cool if they had more prominence. Having men and women play in different leagues isn't sexist; it's just plain sensible, given the difference in muscle mass between the genders.
@24: Golden Tate is the obvious ND guy, since he's local. Manti Te'o mentioned above plays for the Chargers.

@30: Players still not infrequently say things like "it's selfish to be out and in the NFL, I wouldn't like that", or worse. Most of them keep their mouths shut because of the backlash, but a few a year say it.
finally a meaningful post, and Michael's decision deserves praise because he is courageous, he obviously could have chosen to live the white man's lie and said nothing, and had he done that every single subtle bigoted word ever uttered within his earshot could have been played off as if it were a joke

But thanks to one man's courage, that bullshit tired old excuse is removed, because that type of bigoted talk is not funny.

Because of His courage the next person to utter a derogatory name for a gay man is going to have to own his bigotry

No more subtle bullshit ways to undermine, marginalize or otherwise make any LGBT person feel less than, because everyone who didn't think it was funny but was afraid to speak up, now they have an excuse to say, "Hey asshole, shut the fuck up"

It's one thing to talk the talk, it's another to be the person who just risked his career in order to be free to choose the person or people who he chooses to share his life with,

The man, Michael Sam, is a modern day hero who was willing to put his career on the line, in order to further disarm the evil and tyranny of wicked men

He single handledly disarmed a major stronghold for the subtle evil that may never die, but thanks to Michael has a hell of a lot less power to hurt and damage innocent lives

@ raku, tumblrs have no credibility. You'll have to do better than that to prove your point, like linking to a university website or one for a respected journal.
The NFL is a copy-cat league. What one team does that makes their team incredibly successful, soon every other team is doing it as well.

The eyes of the NFL are on Seattle and Pete Carroll, who has a notoriously ra-ra attitude. Basically, he demands that you play your best, but that your personal choices are up to you. When Sherman first came to the team, he was loud and very vocal to the media. PC called him into the office to talk to him. He didn't tell him 'you're putting yourself before the team' or 'we have an image we're presenting and you're screwing with that.' He asked him what was up, listened, then said, "Cool. Thanks for coming in."

This is the perfect time for a major draft prospect to come out. Coaches are looking at PC's style, and wanting to incorporate it. Teams will be more successful when they demand the best of their players, and allow them to be themselves. Some teams will probably pass on Sam, but there will be a team that will give him a chance & not care about his sexuality. And that team will be rewarded.
@2 In football or baseball, if you draft in the 5th or 6th round, it still means you are a top athlete, an outrageously good player in your sport.

It always cracks me up, the bs fans give themselves, like there isn't much difference between the fan and some "loser' AAA baseball player.

I fucking hate football, but these guys have worked harder than most of us can even imagine working to get where they are, with focus and determination that is equally elusive to most people. For most athletes, it is hard to sustain, but still pretty amazing. P.S. football is a dangerous gladiator sport that we should not support.
Hey, Olympians, especially you out gay Olympians,
This is what a real sports hero looks like. This is what a real sports hero does to stand up to the bigots. He risks his future income, his entire professional life to speak truth to power. Those of you dancing Putin monkeys who run to Sochi in hopes of the big score, the GOLD, the fat cash endorsement deals, who are more than happy to skate, ski, luge, slide, and shred over the backs of Russians who are beaten and humiliated for being gay... you are greedy cowards. All of you together don't add up to shit compared to Mr. Sam. The tragedy is that Sam won't have an NFL career while some of you will ride Putin's Sochi circus to big money and fabulous careers. Fucking dancing monkeys.

Just to show how big the difference is between the best street players and a mediocre pro.
@36 I share your sentiments about the highlight video, especially after we've been watching the Seahawk's D.

" to a man, they say that being gay will either hurt Sam's draft stock, or cause him to not be drafted at all. Also to a man, they refuse to put their names behind their comments. "

So no difference between them and Hollywood producers, agents and studio heads.
ESPN has a poll up, "Is the NFL ready for a gay player?"

YES 64%
NO 36%

Even Mississippi is at 51% yes. The majority of football fans are fine with it.
@56 Great link. I figured everything I was saying about football and baseball is true about basketball as well, but I don't know much about basketball.
Think Sam will be the first openly gay NFL player? It's not likely.

What are the odds that NOT ONE of the 100+ gay NFL players currently under contract comes out - or gets outed -in the next day/week/month, or by the end of August when rosters are finalized?
@61: None has so far. Why would we expect that to change when it hasn't until now? If it does happen, I suspect that player will owe a debt to Sam for starting a real discussion.
@61 or maybe they will just live in less fear that their private lives will be aired publicly as news events.
touche' Matt, you tell em! ain't journalist the brightest folk to ever have thems self an opinion,

if you ever give up your writing job, wikipedia could use a few good editors such as yoself Matthew ;)
So there are a bunch of nameless quotes claiming that this will hurt his draft stock, but the actual attributed quotes are all from people saying they would still draft him.…
@62 -- Why would we expect that to change when it hasn't until now?

Because a lot of ice has cracked in a lot of places since this time last year, when there were rumors of 1 or 3 or 4 players about to come out.

Because NFL locker roomstoday represent a much more recent birth cohort - and hence a more enlightened social context - than those of the 90's, when at least a few gay players were already known to and accepted by their teammates.

Because the Michael Sam story drives an intensified discussion of the subject, in and out of NFL locker rooms.

And because hiding in plain sight must seem increasingly unrewarding and pointless to many established players in locker room closets.

Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
Thankfully, at least one Seahawk is tweeting the right message about this.…
@67 -- Last I checked, nobody on any current NFL roster is tweeting the wrong message, and a whole bunch - including both Richie Incognito AND Jonathan Martin - are tweeting the right message.
It was nearly 40 years ago when Dave Kopay former NFL player and Washington Husky came out. That was after his playing career was over. Amazing it's taken this long for an active player to come out.

According to ESPN Michael Sam is ranked 119th overall in the coming NFL draft.…
RonK, I think most of them have learned to avoid the controversy by not saying anything at all. Malcolm Smith seems to be the only Seahawk who actively supported Sam (by implication, at least).

I know some Hawks have said anti-gay things in the past, so I guess saying nothing is progress...
@70 -- When homophobes feel compelled to keep their opinions in the closet, that's more than a little progress.
yaaaawn, who cares! Yet another pro athlete comes out! It aint like hes curing cancer or efforting world peace. Fans spend billions of dollars a year on pro sports so owners of these teams, " teams" being the operative word, can win the game and get the trophies. Now put these team members in a military uniform with other gay military men/women and drop them in a war zone and I bet the issue would be moot. Of course promoting "locker room paranoia" certainly doesn't promote the "low-down" actions of some that are in pro sports - for how could it!?
Good for him! And now he can bring a whole new twist to banging skanks on the road :)
@72: The point here is that one of the most heavily masculinized portions of society--football players and fans--is about to become okay with a player being gay. That's no small potatoes.

I get a little tired of people playing whack-a-mole with sports, as though there's any difference between that and the movie industry, or record industry. Shockingly, many cultures throughout history have featured sports in some manner; it might possibly be a common thread in human behavior.
Here's one more supportive voice in Michael Sam's corner: The Ghost of Vince Lombardi
... "My dad's brother Harold was gay, so that's why my dad was very open and accepting about those kinds of things," Lombardi Jr. told USA TODAY Sports.
Times have changed, but Lombardi was well ahead of them, aware that some of his players were gay and mandating his Redskins assistant coaches to help a talented but struggling running back, Ray McDonald, by pushing him but never mocking him. ...
So . . . who's going to step up and step out so this kid doesn't have to carry the weight of this "distraction" all alone?
@75 Interesting.

Vince Lombardi coached the Washington Redskins in 1969. Both Dave Kopay and Jerry Smith were on the team that year.

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