Monday, May 12, 2014

I Was Right About Michael Sam

I like it when I'm right (which happens.  I mean, even a blind dog finds a bone every once in a while).  Remember back in February when I blogged about Michael Sam's "coming out" publicity stunt?  I questioned the media darling's motives for screaming his gayness from the rooftops before the NFL draft?  Remember that?  He had already had a coming out to his college football team mates, so another big announcement seemed redundant.  But if drafted, Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player to earn that.  And, well....if he wasn't drafted, it wouldn't be a big stretch to use his homosexuality as an excuse.  Blaming the bigots of the world is a lot easier than admitting one's own unmarketable talent, especially at a time when the only thing worse than being labeled a racist is being labeled a homophobe.

But it almost didn't happen, the drafting of Michael Sam.  He wasn't drafted until the last round, squeezing in by the skin of his teeth, but making "history" nonetheless.  Since there was no controversy for the media vultures to pounce on, they are working to create one anyway.  Could it be this guy's sexual orientation that kept him from being drafted earlier?  A lot of people might like to think so.

While it could be true that some teams might want to focus on actually improving their team's football rather than entertaining the media circus that will definitely be surrounding the "controversy" that is Michael Sam's homosexuality, let me remind everyone that Sam created his own brouhaha in regards to his sexual orientation.  For all of Michael Sam's assertions that he wants to be valued for his performance on the field, he is the one who is identifying himself as a GAY football player.

The gay label has increased his marketability, that's for sure.  Before he was even drafted, Visa picked him up for a commercial.  In the Visa spot, Michael Sam spends 30 seconds pumping iron and insisting that he only wants to be judged by what he does on the football field.  I assure you, Mr. Sam, it is not your football that landed you that advertising least not entirely.  No.  Only the first openly gay football player to be drafted to the NFL could have pulled off that emotionally charged commercial. Visa wanted a gay football player for that spot, not just any football player.

Michael Sam, if you want to be judged by your football, you can't keep labeling yourself (or be paid by companies like Visa to label you) a GAY football player.  So either being gay is an issue or it isn't.  You can't have it both ways.

Even President Obama (or at least his White House minions) got in on the gay football player action (at least in a public relations sense), issuing a public congratulations to Michael Sam.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”
Kind of hypocritical, don't you think, White House minions?  Because you ARE judging Michael Sam based on who he is not what he does.  How many other draft choices got a public congratulations from the executive office?  That would be zero.

These guys might need a private moment...a nationally broadcast private moment
And the media is never going to let us forget that Michael Sam is gay.  Just when we might have been able to focus on the guy's talent, just as we could almost forget that he's an openly gay football player (not JUST a football player), ESPN slaps us in the face with Michael Sam's sexual orientation in the form of an over-replayed kiss shared between Sam and his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, after they received news of his draft by the St. Louis Rams... from every angle possible AND zooming in for a slobbery close-up.  It's the media's way of screaming at you that this guy is GAY, so you have to be either homophobically irate about it or singing hallelujahs about how far society has come - no room for  middle ground here - and football is a completely secondary subject.

Now back to the part about me being right... By labeling himself as the first openly gay NFL draftee (and having that label validated and reinforced by the White House and ESPN and Visa), Michael Sam has made himself super-humanly untouchable.  After the apparently shocking kiss was aired, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones made some vague tweets that might could possibly be interpreted as critical of Michael Sam's PDA, and down came the judgmental gavels of public opinion.  He has since been fined and barred from team activities until he finishes sensitivity "training for his recent comments made on social media".  I'm wondering if this so-called training includes a lobotomy to remove any politically incorrect personal opinions.  Perhaps the lobotomy has already taken place since Don Jones has publicly issued a humble and repentant apology to Michael Sam and all of humanity everywhere for his heinous crime of two single word tweets.

You've got to be super careful of those politically incorrect tweets if you're an NFL player.  Former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward has had death threats against him and HIS CHILDREN issued for his tweet.  "I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv."  And for that death threats to the man's innocent children?  Obviously threatening bodily harm to a man's children is morally justifiable if that man publicly expresses an opinion of homosexual PDA that is anything less than reverent praise.

You see, Sam has not only fabricated a fame and cultural importance that has nothing to do with his athletic skills, he has also shielded himself in a homosexual cocoon of protection from public criticism.  And anytime that his performance is criticized, either on or off the football field, it will become a matter of bigoted closed-minded hatefulness.  But it will be all right.  The criticisms will be beaten and drown by the angry self-righteous mobs of gay rights zealots, who only know how to meet criticism of their gay poster children with pitchforks and torches and accusations of intolerance, because...

well, they just can't tolerate intolerance.

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