On the heels of Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay, at least one unnamed General Manager boldly predicted Sam would be undrafted.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith had an even stronger assessment for any General Managers who say things about Sam without attaching their names to it.
“[W]hen you contrast a group of anonymous G.M.’s against a 24-year-old college player, it seems like only one of them had the guts to put his name behind his message,” Smith told CSN Washington. “So my first reaction has nothing to do with Michael Sam. My reaction is to call those G.M.’s for what they are: They’re gutless. And if a young man has the courage to stand up and put his name and his face to talk about what he thinks is important, I would expect that a grown man can do exactly the same thing. But apparently they can’t.”
Smith expressed optimism regarding the manner in which Sam will be received by other members of the union, once he’s on a team.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect and expectation for our young man and some of our not-so-young men in our locker rooms,” Smith said. “We believe that the locker room, as much of a locker room as it is, it’s a workplace. And I think the expectation for all of our young men is to treat every person in their workplace with respect.”
If there are any problems, the NFLPA will be ready to act.
“With both feet,” Smith said. “This isn’t a union that has had a tough time stepping in with two feet to protect the interests of its players. If there ever came a time where we believe that there was a need for us to do something for this player or any player similarly situated, I’m sure the league wouldn’t be surprised to see a letter from me coming across their desk.”
The situation could get dicey if Sam is facing harassment from another member of the union. In those situations, both men are entitled to protection and representation by the NFLPA.
It’s the same problem the union faced in the Jonathan Martin–Richie Incognito situation. Frankly, it’s the same problem any union faces when one member of the union is accused of breaking workplace rules when interacting with another member of the union.