Most of the reactions to the revelation of Michael Sam coming out as being gay, which means he might become the first out-in-the-open homosexual player in the NFL right from the get go and not someone who waits till his career is over, were positive and supportive. However, while there was no one making an outright negative comment about it, not everyone seems 100% sure this is something they’d like to see.
Take Drayton Florence from the Carolina Panthers. He didn’t exactly said he has a problem with it, but he wasn’t too welcoming of Sam’s decision, making it seem like it’s a matter of being a distraction or not, and not something else.
No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room. At least he’s open with it much respect! Is he actually saying that he doesn’t have a problem with it as long as Sam doesn’t play on his team?
And then there was Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who made some interesting and less welcoming comments before the Super Bowl, before Sam came out with his announcement.
It’s going to be hard. I mean, in this league, you gotta shower with guys and be around guys. Some guys are going to be uncomfortable and some guys aren’t. It’s going to be hard for some guys to accept a gay player. I have nothing against it. If a player is going to come out, he’s going to come out. You can’t look at him as different.
According to Sam, everyone at Missouri was very supportive after he revealed it to his teammates last August before the season began. He made the announcement now in order for it not to be leaked by someone to the press, as NFL scouts and teams were already aware of the matter, whether or not it should actually make a difference.
But now not only will Sam be highlighted and targeted through this entire pre-draft process, but there has already been talk about teams taking him off their board because of the potential distraction he might cause.
Donte Stallworth posted on Twitter with a series of referrals to the matter, suggesting that ‘Distraction’ is merely an excuse, and any team that can’t handle the situation means it is dysfunctional, because Sam isn’t dropping this out of nowhere on his next team: He’s letting everyone know months ahead of time and giving them an opportunity to prepare for the media attention. And if an NFL franchise can’t handle some extra media attention, there’s something very wrong with it.
But as far as recommendations go, it’s better for Sam to land on a team that has a strong managerial structure. The Patriots are one example as a team that can do fine despite controversy and other problems (Aaron Hernandez), but they’re not the only team that Sam should hope to land on come draft day.