News

Former NFL Coach Warns About Michael Sam’s Coming Out

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Feb 10, 2014
  • PRINT
  • COMMENTS (2)
  • LARGE
  • MEDIUM
  • SMALL
Herm Edwards
Herm Edwards  (Source:AP Photo/Al Behrman)

National Football League draft prospect Michael Sam dominated the news Sunday when he told a number of media publications that he is gay. The NFL draft is in May, and if a team does pick him for their team, he would be the first openly gay American football player, a groundbreaking moment many are hoping will become a reality. And while several people have lauded Sam for coming out, others are voicing their concerns what this will mean for the NFL’s locker room culture.

As the Huffington Post reports, former NFL coach and current ESNP analyst Herm Edwards warned that Sam’s coming out could impact other athletes. The expert compared Sam to a player with "off the field" issues and brought up concerns about how Sam’s fellow teammates would handle the media attention.

"He’s bringing baggage into your locker room," he said. "Can the players handle the media attention they are going to get, when they get the question asked, ’are you okay with a gay teammate?’"

Sam made headlines Sunday when he told ESPN, the New York Times and Outsports that he is gay.

"I am an openly, proud gay man," he said.

If he is drafted, Sam, a defensive lineman, would be the NFL’s first openly gay football player.

While some have said that Sam’s coming out won’t impact his chances of getting drafted, some suspect otherwise. Eight NFL officials anonymously told Sports Illustrated that they believe the media attention will greatly impact the athlete’s chances.

Edwards isn’t alone in his concerns. Just last week it was reported that New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said he wouldn’t be happy if one of his teammates were gay and he had to shower with him in the locker room.

"I think he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted," the athlete said. "I don’t want people to just naturally assume, oh, we’re all homophobic. That’s really not the case. Imagine if he’s the guy next to me, and you know, I get dressed, naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just so happens he looks at me, how am I supposed to respond?"

Nevertheless, Sam has received support from fellow athletes and NFL officials. Even First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted him her support Monday.

Comments

  • MNrainbow, 2014-02-10 21:04:41

    So annoying when straight people think every gay person will be checking them out in the locker room... Dream on, and get over yourselves!


  • Wayne M., 2014-02-13 21:22:01

    The so-called baggage that Michael Sam is bringing into the locker room is honesty and being himself. If he chose to stay in the closet, he would not be any less Gay but if he pretended to be heterosexual (when he is not), the baggage he would bring into the game and the draft would be something called D-I-S-H-O-N-E-S-T-Y. Those who feel they cannot accept a Gay play in professional sports have a choice. They can choose to get over it or they can choose to go away.


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook