No one will know the impact of Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay until the draft begins. Until then, we’ll hear plenty of talk about how it may affect him.
Much of it will come from scouts who speak to the media anonymously. Because that’s what always happens this time of year; folks with a possible agenda that becomes impossible to discern because their employment isn’t known will express opinions about whether players will go high or low or not at all in the draft.
One thing we’ve learned in the last 13 years of covering drafts is that teams that like a player will be tempted to say bad things about him in the hopes that he’ll fall — and that teams that don’t like a guy will be tempted to say good things in the hopes that another team will use a pick on the player, pushing others farther down the board.
Usually, it’s a dynamic that applies to high-round players. For Sam, some could be hoping that a guy they would have taken in round three will now be available in lower rounds. If a third-round talent can be gotten in round five, six, or seven, those responsible for the coup will look good in the eyes of their bosses.
Let’s keep that in mind as General Managers and scouts and owners begin to chime in anonymously about Michael Sam. Or any other prospect in this year’s draft. Or in any year’s draft.