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How Would You Feel If an Openly Gay Man Played for Your Football Team?

Defensive standout from Missouri, Michael Sam, announced he is gay and is likely to be drafted by a professional team in May.

If the National Football League draft wasn't a big enough spectacle, with three days of media coverage and the scrutinizing of every player down to their favorite food, the event just got crazier.

Michael Sam, a senior defensive lineman for Missouri told the New York Times last week that he is gay, and his entire college football team knew before the start of the 2013 season.

What makes the situation unique is that Sam is regarded as a very strong NFL prospect, and could be taken by a team in the first or second round of May's draft. If he is drafted, Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL. 

While players and owners alike spoke out and applauded Sam for his decision to go public, some players, including the New York Giants Terrelle Thomas, told ESPN the NFL wasn't ready for an openly gay player.

So what if your favorite team decided to draft Sam? How would you feel about the situation as a fan? Would the extra media attention bother you? Do you not care about the player's sexual preference?

Tell us in the comments.
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) February 16, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Thanks for the comment, Tracy. First, this question was not generated by Aol, it was a query I posted because, as said previously, this would make history. If the player is drafted by the Jets or Giants, you can bet the media coverage will be unlike anything you've ever seen, and I'm wondering what our readers think about the situation. Also, this post is on all sites in the Morris County area, not just Long Valley Patch.
Selene February 17, 2014 at 01:03 AM
Jason, your editorial choices are being questioned because this is NON news to the more enlightened. Most people don't care if a person is gay, we have evolved beyond that. Congrats to those who are whole heartedly in support of the gay community. Good humanitarians!
BeachBum February 17, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Hes a good player his personal life will have zero effect on how he plays
Spike February 17, 2014 at 08:27 AM
I agree with "Hookerman" - grow up guys!
John February 17, 2014 at 08:33 AM
This is yet another issue on which the political left has fanned the flames to keep America divided - and thus attempting to keep their party relevant with the perception they have to "fight" for these minorities. The left loves to highlight the differences in people at every available opportunity. The first black this, the first woman that, the first gay this, the first hispanic that. Lets just all be Americans OK?
David Comora February 17, 2014 at 08:38 AM
Very ironic comment, John.
Pete February 17, 2014 at 08:55 AM
This whole non-issue is being played by the media, just to get attention. If the man's orientation affects how well he plays football, there'd be a legitimate concern. If it doesn't, then it doesn't matter. What the rest of the guys on the team think is their own affair, and if everyone acts like intelligent adults (a rarity nowadays), things should sort themselves out to a workable level, pretty quickly.
Wayniac February 17, 2014 at 09:45 AM
"Patch 1947": How Would You Feel If a Black Man Played for Your Baseball Team?
Citizen of America February 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Wayniac is exactly right. And conservatives would complain that liberals and the media were the ones dividing the country by pointing out that Jackie Robinson was black. "Let's all just be Americans" is an ideal that works very well if you're white, male, straight and Christian -- for everyone else, reality does not match that ideal.
Flood Plain February 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM
IMHO, whatever his sexual orientation, is irrelevant today and to me personally. However, this was a stupid thing for him to do....it should not be a birth announcement type of event. HOWEVER, I am sure he "came-out" for the huge PR and because he was told it would actually increase his life-time income via endorsements.
John Briggs February 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM
I just care if my team wins. Sexual orientation is irrelevant unless you are one of those people who enjoy being on the wrong side of history
Mark Lipinski February 17, 2014 at 01:19 PM
The NFL drafts, gay or straight, has zero bearing or influence on anything having to do with Long Valley/Washington Township, which is the only reason I come to The Patch. Frankly, if I wanted to read a "difference of opinion" on national news stories, I can think of any number of reputable media outlets in which to do so; outlets and writers whose knowledge of the subject retired the antiquated term, "preference" years ago. As one of the Washington Township's several gay residents, and a television and print journalist for over 35 years, it feels like the various Patch "gay-related” articles constantly crafts similar questions for debate to encourage a “difference of opinion” as to the validity of anything same-sex related -- gay marriage, gay scouts, the number of gay marriage licenses issued or not, etc. The gay stories are never treated as just a news story, as there is always a Patch caveat -- a question for debate whether it should happen (more specifically, should your tax-paying neighbors and their families deserve equal rights?) – nor are these stories EVER written in the context of history-making news (LOL that’s a new one, and a very transparent excuse – to my memory, not once has any of the gay-related stories even mentioned historical implications, benefits, etc.). For instance, in an article, “Mixed Response from Locals on Gay Marriage” (Mendham/Chester Patch 5/9/12) a clergy is quoted and pictured, who has no problem with same sex marriage as long as the couple jumps through the same hoops any couple would need to. The ONLY dissenting opinions were anonymous quotes. Really? My staff did a better, more responsible, job than that on our high-school paper. Then, of course, included was a Patch question, “intended for debate.” “Gays in Troop Would Be OK, Scoutmaster Says” (Long Valley Patch 2/6/13). When the local Scoutmaster thought wider inclusion was in the best interest of the Scouts, that wasn’t enough. “Where do you stand? What do you think the BSA should do at the national level?" Of course, then there was the classic, “Gay Marriage Legalized: Do You Support NJ Court’s Ruling?” (Long Valley Patch, 9/30/13) Not an article at all just 25-words then a series of questions (to encourage debate, naturally): “But do you support the decision? Did the Superior Court judge do the right thing? Should same-sex marriage be legal in New Jersey? Should it be left to the government to make such a decision?” Of course, there are other debatable subjects that have an equally compelling social impact: In an article about aid for single mothers and housing, for instance (Long Valley Patch 8/29/13), there is no tag question to gather that debatable “difference of opinion.” How about “Do single mothers deserve New Jersey State assistance?” “Would you support increased taxes to aid single mothers?” or “Where are the fathers?” I have never seen any other lifestyle/orientation challenged in the same way as the GLBTQ community is on the Patch – and I welcome you to prove me wrong. I would like to challenge you, Jason, and your fellow Patch writers and editors, to stop putting your neighbors, their friends, children, and, most importantly, fellow human beings under some manufactured sensationalized microscope under the guise of journalism (yellow, at best). If you think a gay story is truly worth merit, simply report it fairly, then let the chips fall where they may. Do any of us need to be polled with the same questions at the end of every gay-themed article, over and over again, asking for either legitimacy or for the intention of debate?
LuisL February 17, 2014 at 02:27 PM
Jason, maybe you should look up 18-year-old Jacob Rudolph, a recent PHS graduate that was more than accepted in Parsippany. Who cares about their lifestyle? Unless you are homophobic? And this isn't Parsippany news. Let the national news media cover this.. Write about Parsippany.
Howdy February 17, 2014 at 03:34 PM
Guys I have some bad news for you. This guy will have MAYBE one year in the NFL, and its because of this kind of discussion. NO NFL team will want to deal with the ridiculous amount of media attention this brings. Constantly talking about how his sexual orientation 'doesn't matter' is exactly the reason that it does matter. Everyone associated with the team he plays for will be dissected by the media, and he will be cut. Not directly because he is gay, but indirectly because the world just cant shut up about it and let them play football.
Sir February 17, 2014 at 04:02 PM
Should be a non issue. Should have his own shower / changing room.
Dee Moscoso February 17, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Howdy, you make an excellent point. Let's hope that you're wrong but more than likely you are right and that's a shame-for him and for society in general.
Mark Lipinski February 17, 2014 at 04:28 PM
Really, Sir? His own changing room? If I had a nickel for every time a straight man looked at my junk in a locker room I'd be living in the "good part" of Mendham! LOL Men look - straight or gay.
Sir February 17, 2014 at 04:36 PM
Mark, why do men and women have different changing rooms? It's one thing for a guy to look, but another to lust.
Hookerman February 17, 2014 at 04:38 PM
Who remembers when Sally Ride became the first female (American) astronaut? "That won't work", people said, "how can women and men share the same tights quarters... eat, sleep, disrobe, go to the bathroom together, for days on end in space? It will be a distraction, affect morale, etc, etc.". Once we got past the first woman, then men and women in space became a non-issue. This will work the same way... we just need to get past the first.
Mark Lipinski February 17, 2014 at 04:52 PM
That's pretty assumptive on your part, don't you think, Sir, to assume that every gay man (or even one gay man ) who managed to gaze upon you in a public setting, then lusted after you? LOLOL That is the most self-aggrandizing, stereotypical, BS I've heard in a long time. LOL Insecure straight men assume the same thing of women . . . if she looks or if she's nice to you she's lusting -- then if she isn't lusting she's a *%&#. Creepy and medieval. I think you might be due for a little enlightenment, but it's not going to come without a little ego bruising.
Sir February 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM
Mark - why don't men and women share locker rooms?
Mark Lipinski February 17, 2014 at 05:21 PM
Because historically they don't and we have been conditioned to it. It's probably some puritanical Christian thing but who cares? I'm down with it. It does not mean, however, that they couldn't because something freaky would happen. Why are their unisex dormitories and bathrooms now? It's a matter of personal self control, not sexual identity. And if you can't control yourself, and can't play well with others, then you shouldn't be there in the first place.
Howdy February 17, 2014 at 05:35 PM
As for the locker room "issue", female reporters are allowed in NFL locker rooms. The intimacy of being naked in locker rooms hasnt existed since 1985. Look up the Lisa Olson case. As for the point about the first woman in NASA and the first black MLB player....... social media didn't exist back then. Now everyone is able to post their stupid opinions online from the comfort of anonymity. And just to add-on to my previous post.... Jason Collins came out as a gay NBA player, the media went insane, he became a liability to his team because every outlet from Fox to TMZ wouldnt leave the issue alone, and he has never played for an NBA team since he "came out".
Hookerman February 17, 2014 at 06:25 PM
What about Martina Navratilova? She came out in 1981 when she was still a pro tennis player, and I never heard any women players complain about having to share a locker room with her. Is it only my own gender who has a hang up about this???
Dee Moscoso February 17, 2014 at 06:32 PM
By George, Hookerman, I believe you've got it! LOL I wondered how long it would take before you guys figured that part out. Men somehow connect "gayness" to themselves being emasculated-women have no such hang-ups. I did also want to say that it's nice to participate in a relatively intelligent conversation about a controversial topic without it degenerating into a slew of name calling and obscenities. Refreshing!!
Howdy February 17, 2014 at 06:47 PM
....... That's probably because professional tennis is not a team sport.
Flood Plain February 17, 2014 at 07:50 PM
Some recent sports-radio stations' commentors are suggesting that Sam is not that good a player. They are saying some of the scouts see him as a marginal, at best, draft pick. Could this be the reason for Sam's self-generated publicity campaign. Yes, I know he was an SEC winner for one year, but the stations are suggesting that the game films of him playing against better teams show him to be less then good at his position. Perhaps he's using the "outing" to prepare for litigation when he's not successful on the field and no team picks him up. Just saying.
Mark Lipinski February 17, 2014 at 08:13 PM
I can tell you that within the gay community, Mr. Sam was less than discreet, there is a video of him dancing in a club circulating - months before coming out. Maybe he simply decided to out himself, and on his terms, rather than be outed by the media. And even if it were a 'stunt," which I doubt, falling on your knees to pray and wearing biblical-quote-field-makeup as a gimmick didn't hurt Tebow to remain working, and he pretty much sucked on the field (and didn't we hear endless debate on anti-Christan bias yada yada yada around draft time and, then again, when he couldn't cut the mustard?)
Paul February 18, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Selene if you think that people are over the gay strait debate you are really uneducated. People aren't even over the racism debate let alone a persons sexuality. As having a person in my family that is gay I'd like for you to look them in the face and tell them that is accepted by most people. You may want to open a paper or watch the news. If it was "accepted" by most people than it would be legal for gays to get legally married in every state.
Denis Mclaughlin March 02, 2014 at 03:09 PM
unsure

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