What just happened is important. It's profound. And, unfortunately, it's shameful. To my knowledge, no male major sport professional athlete has ever played with their homosexuality out in the open. Seems like guys are coming out after they retire, or they come out and quietly never work again. What Michael Sam has done is extremely brave. He announced BEFORE entering the hyper-testosteroned-alpha-male NFL ecosystem that has been unwelcoming to homosexuality as a sign of weakness. It is shameful that it took until now for this... "breakthrough." Shame on all of us for tolerating such an intolerant and bigoted culture. Shame on us for perpetuating the notion that it is more "manly" to conquer many women than it is to stay true to one, or to be there to raise your kids, or to God forbid love another man. Real men stay true to who they are and they take care of those they love. Michael Sam just held up a giant mirror to America and asked us all to look ourselves in the eyes and to be honest with ourselves about what our definition of a "real" man is. Michael Sam is a real man. Not only that, Michael Sam is a man's man.
I think this is going to change American culture in a profound way. I think that little things like taking a shower with an openly gay man is going to have a ripple affect on the way a lot of view ourselves and each other. We're going to be inviting sexuality all the way into our most private places. Right now we separate the sexes in bathrooms because of our cultural taboo of sex and our discomfort with sexuality. We're culturally uncomfortable to being viewed sexually when our nakedness is on display. Women can't go into the men's room because they might see something inappropriate, like a penis. And men can't go into the women's room because they might accidentally see a lady's naked privates. But now what? Our male dominated society is being asked to accept having their nakedness subjected to sexual viewing and judgment. This is going to ripple and unlock all sorts of little societal/cultural quirks and rules and mores.
Michael Sam is a hero. If he doesn't get drafted, you will know it's because we are all bigots. But by coming out BEFORE entering the draft, and by willingly subjecting himself to the mob, he will make it that much easier for someone else who is hiding right now. It's a shame that there are still those that feel the need to hide. Nobody should have to hide. But Michael Sam is changing the conversation about that. He's changing the conversation about a lot of things. It's time for all of us to take a good long look in the mirror and ask ourselves about the kind of world we want to live in, and the kind of world we want for our kids. I want a world where a man can be a man. I want a world where Sam can be Sam.