How many gay fans do the 32 NFL teams have? It is a hard number to pin down, because many gay men have been hiding the fact from the other football fans for so long because it had not yet been “accepted” in the NFL.
Sure, the NFL has had a few gay players, but they did not announce that they were gay until after their NFL careers had finished (if even then). So when Michael Sam announced that he was openly gay at a press conference before the NFL draft, he was taking a big chance. He could have ended up not being drafted at all… or worse, ostracized by the NFL.
But the NFL has embraced change in many ways as it strives to make the game of football a game of humans for humans. Yes, the players are sometimes perceived as super human. But they have feelings, they get into trouble, they help their community and they are people. So now that the pretense of sexual preference has been removed by the signing of Michael Sam by the St. Louis Rams on draft day, the gay community is exploding with praise for the league that for so long has existed in its own “private” environment.
But I wonder, if the Jonathan Martin bullying eruption of last season didn’t open up the locker rooms for just such a shift in perception. The same locker rooms that used to be seen as tough and impenetrable by the outside world and exposed to massive scrutiny is now going to admit an openly gay player. Without that scrutiny, would Michael Sam have been safe?
Let’s hear what you have to say!