The early rush of opinions on out-of-the-closet Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was largely negative, with unnamed scouts downplaying his ability and accentuating the possible negatives.
But now that people with names are beginning to talk, the opinions are getting more positive.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy was asked about the possibility of bringing Sam there, and he had nothing but praise.
“I think you definitely have to feel he’s a courageous young man but my understanding is he’s a talented young player,” McCarthy said, via Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We always from Day 1 talked about our program, about our culture. Ted [General Manager Ted Thompson] is going through draft process right now and at the end of the day, it comes down to good football players.
“Any player who can come here and be a good teammate and follow the rules of our program, which is one be respectful and produce on the football field, we have room for that guy.”
Likewise, the Eagles shot down any notion that adding Sam would be a negative influence.
Asked by Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer if Sam’s public homosexuality would change their willingness or unwillingness to draft Sam, an Eagles spokesman replied: “Why would it change anything?”
Those replies are encouraging, but until someone drafts him, it will be impossible to know how far-reaching the prejudice is, or whether anyone is willing to back up their belief in equality with actions.