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Early player reaction to Michael Sam news is mixed

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While no one knows at the moment how Michael Sam’s draft stock will be impacted by his decision to announce that he’s gay, it’s clear that finding a good fit once a team picks him will still have challenges.

While there were a number of players supportive of his decision, including Buccaneers tight end Tom Crabtree, there were others who clearly didn’t seem comfortable.

Panthers cornerback Drayton Florence sent out a decidedly mixed message on Twitter in the moments after the announcement.

“No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room,” Florence wrote. “At least he’s open with it much respect!”

Which sounds like a polite way of saying, “I respect it, as long as he’s somewhere else so it doesn’t distract me.”

Panthers teammate DeAngelo Williams was more pragmatic, saying: “I could care less about a man’s sexual preference! I care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!”

At the Super Bowl, well before the announcement, Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was asked whether he thought an openly gay teammate could be successful in the NFL.

It’s going to be hard,” he said, via Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News. I mean, in this league, you gotta shower with guys and be around guys. Some guys are going to be uncomfortable and some guys aren’t. It’s going to be hard for some guys to accept [a gay player].”

Asked if he would he be opposed to an openly gay player on his team, he replied: “That’s on that player. I have nothing against it. If a player is going to come out, he’s going to come out. You can’t look at him as different.”

That’s wishful thinking. Sam has singled himself out, and will be watched closely. And while his Missouri teammates were open and accepting last year, it seems clear that there will be some in his NFL locker room who aren’t sure about him yet.

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33 Responses to “Early player reaction to Michael Sam news is mixed”
  1. ctiggs says: Feb 10, 2014 8:18 AM

    All the players will tell him to go make them a SAMmmmich. #goNINERS #NoOnehasitbetter!!!!

  2. stealthscorpio says: Feb 10, 2014 8:23 AM

    Lol Drayton Florence…be careful who gets excluded from the locker room…#notexactlyaHOF

  3. doctorrustbelt says: Feb 10, 2014 8:30 AM

    This 24 year old college athlete has more guts than most 9 year/1-time NFL MVP/1-time Super Bowl champion/3-time Pro Bowl quarterbacks.

  4. reed20fence says: Feb 10, 2014 8:31 AM

    They’ll get over it after the first time he gets to the QB.

  5. tooz72 says: Feb 10, 2014 8:45 AM

    Niners and Packers are the obvious destinations for this kid

  6. nyninerfan says: Feb 10, 2014 8:48 AM

    Bottom line. Can he help a team win football games? Nothing else really matters. If he’s an asset to the team he plays for, all of this just falls to the wayside.

  7. krisclewey says: Feb 10, 2014 8:53 AM

    “It’s going to be hard.” Lol. That’s what “he” said.

  8. reesesteel23 says: Feb 10, 2014 8:55 AM

    I hope the guy is a pro-bowl caliber player man..

    BUT….if he is a bust, whatever team decides to let him go, better not be labeled as a hateful franchise. etc. etc.

    Personally, I don’t understand the whole “coming out” thing. I just don’t, but whatever.

  9. billsfan1 says: Feb 10, 2014 9:04 AM

    My reaction to football players being broke 3 years after retirement is mixed as well..

    THere are plenty of gay men, and plenty of men who play football… werent these 2 worlds going to eventually connect?

  10. pixelito says: Feb 10, 2014 9:30 AM

    If he was accepted in college there’s no reason he shouldn’t be accepted in the NFL.

  11. seattlesue427 says: Feb 10, 2014 9:58 AM

    He did the right thing in coming out before the draft. Regardless of my own personal views, the team has a right to make a decision based on a complete picture of who the player is, both on and off the field. If he’s more of a media and locker room distraction than what his level of play warrants, then he’s not a good draft option.

  12. raider8er says: Feb 10, 2014 10:11 AM

    That took courage. Good for him! If the media does not become insufferable like the Tebow nonsense, teams should not pass on him.

  13. thegregwitul says: Feb 10, 2014 10:16 AM

    Let us not forget the following:

    Some fifty years ago, black people were not allowed to drink out of the same water fountain as white people, had to sit at the back of the bus, were not allowed to send their children to the same schools as white children, and the list goes on and on…A couple decades before that, black athletes were not allowed to play in the same major professional sports leagues that white athletes played in…Go back another hundred years and you’ll find that black people were not considered human beings and were sold as slaves.

    Now, let’s fast forward back to the present. Michael Sam is on track to become the first openly gay football player in the NFL. Go ahead and read some of the tweets from current pro players. Many of them are supportive, but there are several ignorant tweets and comments posted about Michael. Do you suppose it was any different when black players were allowed to play in the same professional sports leagues as whites? If twitter had been around, how do you think an open racist like Ty Cobb would have reacted? I’m sure he would have been uncomfortable in the shower, as ludicrous as that sounds. I’m sure front office people from an older time would have projected a rising black athlete’s tumble in the upcoming draft. Perhaps some individuals would choose to selectively quote passages from a book that is thousands of years old, maybe even doing so over a dinner of shellfish.

    Congrats, Michael Sam, you have my support, for what it’s worth. And for those people that say ‘who cares, I don’t announce that I’m straight.’ well, until gay people are allowed the same liberties and rights as the rest of this country, this will continue to be an issue. But the more Michael Sams we hear and see, the more likely we are as a society to embrace people of all colors, preferences and creeds.

    I’m not sure this comment will make it past the screening process, likely due to its length and subject matter, but something like this needs to be said by someone with a legitimate platform in the media. People need to wake up, it’s 2014. If you’re a member of a gym, let alone a sports team, you are already sharing a shower with a gay individual. Big deal, you’re also sharing a shower with a straight individual. You’re sharing a shower and a locker with a family man, with a ‘player’, with an honest man and with a liar. Welcome to planet Earth, enjoy your stay and open your mind, it should make for a more productive trip.

  14. bullcharger says: Feb 10, 2014 10:18 AM

    reesesteel23 says:Feb 10, 2014 8:55 AM

    I hope the guy is a pro-bowl caliber player man..

    BUT….if he is a bust, whatever team decides to let him go, better not be labeled as a hateful franchise. etc. etc.

    Personally, I don’t understand the whole “coming out” thing. I just don’t, but whatever.

    —————-

    If a person doesn’t come out, they are forced to pretend they are something they are not in their daily life. They can’t include their partner in their work functions, they may even feel compelled to pretend they have a girlfriend in order to fit in.

    Many discussions I have at work are about my wife and family. “What did you do this weekend?” for example. No one should have to lie about that and feel uncomfortable talking about it.

    Living a lie isn’t something anyone should have to do when they are a law abiding citizen.

    One day coming out won’t be necessary, but it is today.

  15. coltsreign says: Feb 10, 2014 10:30 AM

    Damn just as i thought.
    This is only for publicity.
    Keep things out of the media.

  16. redrew says: Feb 10, 2014 10:58 AM

    The tailgating will have pizzazz

  17. 1rockyracoon says: Feb 10, 2014 11:05 AM

    He has to “come out” because it was going to be found out eventually. Why not just get out into the open now so it won’t be a huge issue when the draft and OTAs start. Now he can be free to go out on dates and not have to explain himself every time. He can do the same things ever other player does with their social life.

  18. thebirdofprey2 says: Feb 10, 2014 11:08 AM

    Who cares what someone’s sexual preference is when it comes to football or anything. It does take courage for the young man to come out before one the biggest moments of his life. Media will make a big story the locker room on if he is accepted or not. It will be the same as any other player being productive or not doing his job.

    This will be a huge headline for a month but just like Manti Te’o. He had a solid year and I don’t think I read one distraction/fake girlfriend story last season. Good luck to you Michael Sam.

  19. tennesseeoilers says: Feb 10, 2014 11:11 AM

    Here’s a question: Why don’t NFL players and cheerleaders use the same showers?

    The answer to that my friends is why so many players are uncomfortable with the notion of showering in front of someone who’s attracted to their gender.

  20. 4thqtrsaint says: Feb 10, 2014 11:17 AM

    Its not wishful thinking. Just depends on the person

  21. purpleguy says: Feb 10, 2014 11:20 AM

    As long as we don’t have to listen to what Kluwe thinks about this, I’m good.

  22. asimonetti88 says: Feb 10, 2014 11:31 AM

    tennesseeoilers says: Feb 10, 2014 11:11 AM

    Here’s a question: Why don’t NFL players and cheerleaders use the same showers?

    The answer to that my friends is why so many players are uncomfortable with the notion of showering in front of someone who’s attracted to their gender.
    ———————————————————-

    So much ignorance.

  23. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 10, 2014 11:33 AM

    When asked about showering with guys, was his quote really “it’s going to be hard”. Not even Leno could have come up with that one. Wow.

  24. oldbyrd says: Feb 10, 2014 11:38 AM

    Like it or not, its gonna be a distraction. But give him credit for his courage. Somebody’s gonna get a hell of a football player any way you wish to look at it. I wish him the very BEST!

  25. sixburghkilla says: Feb 10, 2014 11:43 AM

    While what Michael Sam has done is epic and inevitable, comparing this to civil rights is absurd. Don’t believe me? You think what I am saying is inappropriate? Then try asking someone who is a minority. Better yet, ask someone who is both a racial minority and gay!

  26. theuglitruth says: Feb 10, 2014 11:56 AM

    Considering that Superbowl final score….the Broncos could use any help possible….regardless of sexual preference! That’s just the truth…if your team can’t win enough games and this guy helps you get there….draft him!

  27. cmoney4949 says: Feb 10, 2014 12:01 PM

    thegregwitul says:
    Feb 10, 2014 10:16 AM
    Let us not forget the following:

    Some fifty years ago, black people were not allowed to drink out of the same water fountain as white people, had to sit at the back of the bus, were not allowed to send their children to the same schools as white children, and the list goes on and on…A couple decades before that, black athletes were not allowed to play in the same major professional sports leagues that white athletes played in…Go back another hundred years and you’ll find that black people were not considered human beings and were sold as slaves.

    Comparing sexual preferences to civil rights is a joke. Not even on the same scale. The media needs to stop comparing the two.

    Keep your lifesytle choices to yourself I don’t care.

  28. chargrz says: Feb 10, 2014 12:12 PM

    Gives new meaning to playing hard.

  29. nonetruerthanblue says: Feb 10, 2014 12:29 PM

    Singled himself out, Darin? Poor choice of words. That’s not what he was trying to do.

  30. snerdblurter says: Feb 10, 2014 12:39 PM

    I’ll be VERY surprised if he gets drafted at all. You can’t overstate the importance of trust between players in an NFL locker room, and you should never trust a guy with two first names. #hottake

  31. thraiderskin says: Feb 10, 2014 1:06 PM

    While there are parallels to the civil rights movement in establishing equality to American citizens, that is where the similarities stop. I’m cool with this guy being on my teams(if he helps them win), but I don’t have to be in a locker room setting with him and I’m not going to tell someone they can’t be uncomfortable… Locker rooms are supposed to be tight knit, a place you can cut loose, this player’s situation will be an issue for more than a few guys. If the media really wants to do this guy a favor, drop the gay coverage aspect of his draft process. If it becomes a circus, teams will, rightfully, not draft him, just like they rightfully dont bring in Tim Tebow.

  32. jstdad says: Feb 10, 2014 2:09 PM

    Someone feeling uncomfortable showering with a gay person is just as valid as someone feeling it shouldn’t matter. Only supposed to respect one opinion/feeling? This is where the true problem lies.

  33. iggles07 says: Feb 10, 2014 6:12 PM

    There are 18 articles on this website alone related to Michael Carr. The guy came out YESTERDAY. I think it was a fair statement by Drayton Florence to say it could be a distraction, and poor journalism on your part for rephrasing his statement with a bigoted slant.

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