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News & Blogs


Eatman: Question “Can He Play?” All That Should Matter

Posted Feb 10, 2014

There’s nothing else that matters to me. And there’s nothing else that should matter to any of the 32 teams that are evaluating Michael Sam for this year’s draft.

Can he play?

If that answer is yes then obviously you move on to the next factors about scheme and if he’s’ a fit for the team. But if can indeed play football, then Michael Sam is worth talking about.

I’m sorry, I know we get caught up in someone being the first at something. A few months ago, it was Jason Collins coming out saying he was gay. He just recently played in the NBA. And now we’ve got Michael Sam saying he it. If he’s drafted, which he was initially slotted somewhere in the middle rounds, then he’ll be the first openly gay player in the NFL.

He’s certainly not the only gay player in the league. He probably won’t be the only one on his team.

For that, I applaud Sam on the courage to do what he’s done.

But the fact the media is making a huge deal about it, to me suggests that media members and fans actually think it matters.

I’m sorry, I just don’t see the point. If someone can help me understand, I’d be willing to listen with an open mind. Maybe this is monumental. Maybe it’ll help others who have kept the secret in for too long. For that, I can understand how Sam’s announcement could have a positive effect on others.

I was just shocked how this was considered “Breaking News” at the bottom of my TV screen.

Personally, I’m glad to say that someone’s sexual orientation absolutely means nothing to me. Honestly, I see it no different than the church they attend, or whether or not they believe in God. To me, that’s just as personal. What someone does outside of work – whether it’s sexual preference or their religious beliefs – shouldn’t matter in the workplace, as long as it doesn’t affect the workplace.

And maybe that’s the debate here. For years, it was a question how a player would be treated in the locker room if the entire team knew a player was gay. I’m sure there are always exceptions to the rule, but applaud the University of Missouri team for handling it like they did. Apparently, Sam told the team before the season and not only was it not mentioned nationally, but it didn’t affect the team on the field. Missouri went 12-2 and finished in the Top 10 this past season.

And all year long, Sam was one of the best players on one of the best defenses in the country.

He answered the question on the collegiate level. Yes, he can play.

And that’s the only question that should matter as he heads to the next level. I wish him luck, but then again, I wish I didn’t have to.

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