I had planned on going in a somewhat different direction with this particular brain vomit, but events from this past weekend were just screaming for me to pounce on them.
If you have any interest in sports, then you know the annual NFL draft took place last week, culminating on Saturday. It went like most typical drafts of the past, with bets being made on who would go first, what player each team might pick, who would give up picks for the chance of a better one in future drafts. Then, with the 249th pick in the final round, the St. Louis Rams picked Michael Sams. An openly gay player from Missouri, Sams was understandably overcome with emotion when his name was announced by Roger Goodell. And like so many players whose names had been called 248 times before his, he hugged and kissed his significant other. And unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few days, the ruckus started because the significant other just happened to be a man. Oh, the horror. (And yes, that was said with complete and utter sarcasm).
All this kid wants is to have the chance of fulfilling his dream of playing professional football, and to share that joy with someone he loves. And once again, people found it necessary to voice their opinions about what should have been a celebration for a kid who has put in just as much blood, sweat, and tears, as any other player. All just because they don’t agree with his sexual orientation. What does it tell you when a 13 year-old girl says, “what’s the big deal?” Perhaps that attitudes are changing? We can only hope.
Now I know there may be some of you out there who were completely outraged by what you saw on TV. Some of you may even be outraged at the very idea of homosexuality. And you have that right. Just as others have the right to live their lives AS THEY SO CHOOSE. That’s why I find it so ironic that all of this occurred during a sports related event. Aha! Sports…once again, the great equalizer.
How Sams and his boyfriend choose to live their lives is their business. I’m sure all they want is to be treated the same as any other couple, no better, no worse. Isn’t that what you would want if you were in their position? As athletes, I think we owe it to our ourselves, and our chosen sport, to keep hate out of it. It seems every time you turn on ESPN, you’re hearing about kids, including athletes, committing suicide because of bullying. Or African-Americans being denied access to play at snooty golf courses simply because of the color of their skin. How about women being denied the simple right to play sports thus bringing about Title IX? The mere fact that legislation had to be passed in the first place is nothing short of pathetic.
I could stay on my soapbox for a long time when it comes to this particular subject, but I will curb my yakkety-yakking for now. Suffice it to say, and as I have said before, there’s no place for hate in sports. Or anywhere. Except maybe in baseball.
It’s long past time for everybody to just keep things in perspective – what’s important – really, truly important – and what isn’t. There’s a whole lot more important things to get our backs up about than who’s kissing who.
Enjoy the ride.
What do you think about the whole draft drama?