Target: Missouri All-American senior defensive end Michael Sam
Goal: Commend Sam’s courageous decision to publicly announce that he is gay
A star football player at the University of Missouri recently announced publicly in an interview on ESPN that he is gay. Michael Sam, an All-American senior defensive end who is projected to be drafted in the top rounds of the upcoming National Football League draft, could soon become the first openly gay player in the notoriously macho NFL.
While the social acceptance of homosexuality has been steadily growing in this country, pro sports remains one of the last sectors in society where the stigma against gay people remains high. Several players in various leagues have come out after retirement, including NBA center Jason Collins. However, there has never been an active openly gay player in any of the major professional sports leagues in this country.
Sam said he wanted to come out publicly as a way to dispel rumors and as a way to be true to who he really is. Although the response has generally been positive, the announcement certainly comes with a moderate amount of risk for the talented player’s future as a football player. Reports have surfaced about NFL scouts asking college coaches whether or not certain players ever had girlfriends and former punter Chris Kluwe recently alleged that he was let go from the Minnesota Vikings because of his outspoken support of gay marriage.
Regardless, the announcement is a big step forward in the fight for acceptance for LGBT people in all sectors of society and serves as encouragement for young people everywhere who find themselves in similar situations. We can only hope that Sam will be drafted where he deserves, based solely on skill-level and talent, and that teams will not pass over him based on erroneous and outdated homophobic beliefs.
Sign this petition to voice support for Michael Sam bravery and his efforts to fight for LGBT acceptance in pro sports.
Dear Michael Sam,
Your recent announcement of your sexual orientation on ESPN is an incredibly brave and courageous move. There is no reason why a talented, openly gay athlete should not be able to excel in pro sports and be accepted by both the public and his teammates.
If there is any justice in this world, you will soon become the first openly gay athlete in one of America’s major professional sports. Someone had to be first, and hopefully your display of courage will inspire more athletes to follow in your footsteps.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: garypinkel via Mizzou Football