Someday, the decision of a football player to come out as gay will be met with not even a shrug. To get to that day, however, someone had to be the first.
And so the positive words of support continue for former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.
“I applaud Michael Sam and wish him the very best as he continues the pursuit of his NFL dream,” Broncos executive V.P. of football operations John Elway said Monday, in a statement released by the team. “As we look toward the Combine and draft, we will evaluate Michael just like any other draft prospect — on the basis of his ability, character and NFL potential. His announcement will have no effect on how we see him as a football player.”
Actually, if character is a factor, Sam’s courage potentially will help him.
“Having spent 16 years in an NFL locker room, the bottom line is that it’s about treating others with respect and earning that respect,” Elway added. “By all indications, it appears Michael has done just that throughout his football career.”
The reality is that plenty of NFL players don’t always treat others with respect, for a variety of reasons and based on many factors. Wherever Sam lands, it’ll be important to ensure that all players understand the organization’s expectations. And if any of them can’t or won’t comply, then they should no longer be part of the organization.