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Ravens president “disappointed” Sam’s sexuality is “such a big issue”


At this point, it probably would be easier to list the teams that haven’t issued a statement regarding former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

All have been positive, or at least neutral.  While we want to be fair to the various teams that have taken the time to issue statements, there’s a cookie-cutter quality that has caused us (and likely you) to glaze over.  So we’re now looking for something different in the statements, and the statement from the Ravens had exactly the kind of different we wanted.

I’m disappointed it is such a big issue in 2014,” Ravens president Dick Cass said, via the team’s official website.

While Cass also said the various other things that other teams are saying about Sam, Cass is right.  It shouldn’t be such a big issue.

But it is, because Sam is the first gay NFL player to choose to acknowledge his sexuality.  Eventually, it won’t be an issue, whether it’s the fifth player or the 10th player or the 50th player to come out.  To get there, however, there had to be a first player.

Hopefully, Sam’s decision won’t result in increased pressure on other gay players to follow suit.  As we explained last year, when it appeared that a faction of straight players were determined to persuade multiple gay players to come out, it is every gay player’s right to choose to keep his sexuality to himself.

While many have applauded Sam for being courageous, choosing not to come out doesn’t make a gay player a coward.  It’s part of who the player is, and we hope that Sam’s decision won’t be used by those with an agenda to pressure others to follow suit based on notions of solidarity or bravery.

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35 Responses to “Ravens president “disappointed” Sam’s sexuality is “such a big issue””
  1. jwilliamsspf says: Feb 11, 2014 8:41 AM

    I think everyone agrees, it isn’t a big deal. The media is over killing it, and essentially ruining this young man’s opportunity to have a decent playing career without distraction. The depth of arrogance in the media never ceases to amaze me.

  2. seatownballers says: Feb 11, 2014 8:44 AM

    I hope this kids career is defined by what he does on the field, and not his lifestyle.

  3. ez4u2sa says: Feb 11, 2014 8:48 AM

    I agree. I couldn’t care less whether or not this guy likes women, men or both. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with football. Let’s move on.

  4. southpaw2k says: Feb 11, 2014 8:49 AM

    The first time anything ever happens is bound to be a big deal for about 15 minutes. The second time something happens is a much smaller deal, and each subsequent time the relevance and importance is reduced.

    Michael Sam is a big deal right now up until the NFL draft. Then his story will subside for a while until training camp starts up in late July. It’ll be a slightly big deal again until the season starts, and then no one will blink an eye.

  5. fwippel says: Feb 11, 2014 8:50 AM

    Cass is right. The focus should be on what Sam does on the field.

    He wasn’t a distraction in the Missouri locker room, and there’s no reason to think he’ll be a distraction in an NFL locker room.

  6. crazycane says: Feb 11, 2014 8:50 AM

    It’s only a big issue because people keep bringing it up and make it a big issue. I think a majority of NFL fans don’t care and only care if he can play.

  7. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Feb 11, 2014 8:51 AM

    Typical of the Ravens. The Steelers don’t accept this. It is a big issue to us, and we want nothing to do with it.

  8. mykpfsu says: Feb 11, 2014 8:52 AM

    Its only a big deal if he goes all Chris Kluwe and makes everything about him and being gay. Otherwise no one will care.

  9. erock27 says: Feb 11, 2014 8:52 AM

    Great . Now this is going to be the face of sportcenter up until draft day . Lets hope he gets drafted or else gays r gunna boycott the nfl

  10. prospero63 says: Feb 11, 2014 8:55 AM

    It’s become pretty clear that the press has made this a much bigger issue than Sam, the NFL and pretty much most of America think it is.

  11. timbuttrum says: Feb 11, 2014 8:56 AM

    Agreed. Could care less about anyone’s sexual orientation. Irrelevant to his profession. I just don’t like all of the announcements. On one hand, gays want equality. On the other, press conferences are scheduled to announce their coming out to the world. If you want equality, just live life like the rest of us.

  12. coachbeck says: Feb 11, 2014 9:05 AM

    So are we gonna have to read an individual story so each team and get on the bandwagon. Hey ravens he is brave make him your first pick.

  13. flash1283 says: Feb 11, 2014 9:09 AM

    Ravens president “disappointed” we gave JUMP BALL JOE all that money only to finish dead last in QB rating for the season!

  14. eagleswin says: Feb 11, 2014 9:10 AM

    Despite what Kluwe thinks, this is a “distraction” in the dictionary sense of the word. When every team and player must come out and issue a statement on how they support Sam and Sam’s situation or risk being chastised or ridiculed in the media for not being PC.

  15. kcflake says: Feb 11, 2014 9:12 AM

    I think it may be fair to characterize the Ravens President as Naive.

  16. zappa69 says: Feb 11, 2014 9:26 AM

    Crazy to think this won’t be an issue in the locker room.

    The media will make it an issue!

  17. chipbeastkelly says: Feb 11, 2014 9:34 AM

    If choosing not to come out doesn’t make a gay player a coward, then choosing to come out doesn’t make a gay player courageous.

  18. Joemontanaflacco says: Feb 11, 2014 9:45 AM

    If you want it to become an even bigger issue, just hire Ryan Clark when he’s released. Leave it to a Steeler to fan the flames!

  19. raiderufan says: Feb 11, 2014 9:45 AM

    Eventually it’ll be an issue that they can just live life “like the rest of us”…but right now you cannot in anyway believe that if he simply chose to live his life as an open gay man the media would in anyway allow that to happen.

    He’s the first in the public sports eye and it would have been the only thing focused on and a whirlwind much larger, going into his first locker room, if it was just “hey, guys, I’m gay” and the firestorm started. Instead he controls the situation, when it comes up after the draft hopefully he’ll request his sexuality is respected like any other player on the team and we can move on.

    Like was said above #1 is a big deal, #10 maybe a lot less….and so on…

  20. larryravor says: Feb 11, 2014 9:47 AM

    Shows how a ‘class’ organization handles things like this. I would also, as much as it hurts, include the Patriots has an organization that would handle this properly.

  21. theravens1 says: Feb 11, 2014 9:53 AM

    It’s his business to decide to “come out” or not.
    It’s my business to decide IF, I want to hear it, or not.

    This subject doesn’t have any importance to me -at all. I’d like to hear about sports when I come here -not about sex or sexuality!

    I do like looking at the cheerleaders when I go to a game though -so I’m not without my flaws.

  22. skinsfolife says: Feb 11, 2014 9:54 AM

    Ozzie, how in the world did you think this wouldn’t be a big deal? Why haven’t players come out in the past if this isn’t such a big deal? To say you are disappointed is such a cowardly way to make make a comment on this subject. Instead of making a comment about being disappointed, praise this young man. I love it how Ozzie is making this about him and his disappointment rather than just simply stating that Sam is courageous and his courage will hopefully encourage others not to live a closeted life. Get with it Ozzie.

  23. abninf says: Feb 11, 2014 10:04 AM

    Sam was forced to come out before the draft according to a statement by his agent yesterday.

  24. jamaltimore says: Feb 11, 2014 10:18 AM

    don’t we want to live in a world where we know every person’s sexual preference, fetish and such! Won’t it just be a great day when we can learn who Dez Bryant prefers to sleep with etc.

    The whole “gay rights” thing is joke and a distraction from the real events of the day. good luck to Sam the football player but please stop promoting this as some groundbreaking, courageous effort. With the current logic I’ll be waiting for the next Huge CIVIL rights movement, where married people can have multiple partners.

    I think many an athlete came out year after year with this preference (they were born that way) a couple years ago and he almost lost his job and family so it’s time to fix this type of discrimination!

  25. ianwetpantscom says: Feb 11, 2014 10:26 AM

    Ozzie Newsome calls Kevin Colbert and ask for advice.


  26. richc111 says: Feb 11, 2014 10:30 AM

    I have said it before and say it again. I would not want Sam on my team! Not becuase he is gay, it is because the media will be right behind him when he comes into town and set up a circus outside the stadium.

  27. crownofthehelmet says: Feb 11, 2014 10:32 AM

    This is why the Steelers are the kings of the division – while ravens leadership is musing about 5th round players, and Cin stars can’t exit fast enough, the Steelers are only focused on hoisting the Lombardi, again.

  28. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Feb 11, 2014 10:32 AM

    Well if it’s not a big deal then why make an announcement about it?

    I think I speak for a lot of fans (not all) when I say we don’t really need to know or want to know.

  29. granadafan says: Feb 11, 2014 11:15 AM

    It’s a big issue because there is a large segment of the population (conservatives) who use religious views to discriminate against gays. There are numerous states, mainly by conservatives in the South, which have recently passed anti gay laws or laws denying rights to gays. Combine that with the biggest sporting event being held in a country which passed strict anti gay laws, and you’d be a fool to not see Michael Sam’s decision as a “big issue”.

  30. southpaw2k says: Feb 11, 2014 11:17 AM

    dallascowboysdishingthereal says:
    Feb 11, 2014 10:32 AM
    Well if it’s not a big deal then why make an announcement about it?

    I think I speak for a lot of fans (not all) when I say we don’t really need to know or want to know.


    Here’s the irony to your comment:

    If nobody really did express thoughts or opinions on the subject as you suggest, then there would be massive outcry from gay rights groups out there, claiming this story is HUGE and needed to be talked about at least in the short term. And if anyone just shrugged and said, “Why? It’s 2014 – people should be able to live their lives without scrutiny or judgment,” they’d still be lambasted for not at least cheering Michael Sam for taking that step on behalf of other athletes who may be gay.

    You’re saying Dick Cass is damned if he does, and I’m telling you he’s equally damned if he doesn’t. I still say Michael Sam is a big deal for the time being, but by the time the 2014 season kicks off nobody will talk about him or care. Other professional athletes who announce they’re gay will merely be footnotes in time.

  31. jiggy3198 says: Feb 11, 2014 11:22 AM

    He didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. But he was forced to because there were rumors that they were going to question his sexuality at the draft. He wanted to take control of the situation which is the right thing to do.

  32. packfanaj12 says: Feb 11, 2014 11:30 AM

    There is an issue with the NFL and how they sexuality of a player is focused on. If the media brings attention to it, then more people are aware of this issue and more chance a change will occur. Let the media do their thing… I think it would be disappointing if the media chose not to catch wind and make a big deal about it, the biggest changes can occur when the public is aware that there is an issue.

  33. JSpicoli says: Feb 11, 2014 11:39 AM

    Another day, another hero climbing Mt. Easy Moral Highground.



  34. Ed Bandell says: Feb 11, 2014 5:59 PM

    It obviously is a big deal when players of the sport are coming out and voicing their honest opinions and getting destroyed in the media or fined for what they say because they don’t agree with the PC mentality.

    One person chose to make this as big a deal as it is. If he never revealed his sexuality would we even be talking about him as a 3rd to 5th round undersized DE, or potential OLB prospect without the agility to perhaps make that switch in the NFL? Probably not.

    The general public may not think this is a big deal. The media may not think this is a big deal. But the players that will have to be in the locker room with this player are allowed to decide for themselves whether they think it is a big deal or not. Nobody else has that right to tell them what they should think, especially on a matter such as this. It is not our right to tell them what they should think or what they should be okay with. They are the ones that have to live through that scenario, not us. It is easy for us to sit in the crowd or at home and watch on TV for the 60 minutes they play on the field.

    Sure, it would be lovely to just think that what he does on the field will define him. But, that is not the reality. There is a lot more to football than what you just see on the field…and that matters just as much.

    I have no problem with any player coming out and voicing his opinion that he’s not comfortable with that situation. It is his right to do so. He should not live in fear of being fined or having any action taken against him for feeling what is in his heart. What’s he supposed to do? Lie about it?

    Just like I have no problem with Sam coming out and saying he’s gay. He’s entitled to do whatever he wants within the law. He’s as free as the next person.

    Does this mean everyone has to jump in the air and celebrate?

  35. SmashMouthFootball says: Feb 12, 2014 12:08 PM

    skinsfolife says: Feb 11, 2014 9:54 AM

    Ozzie, how in the world did you think this wouldn’t be a big deal? …Get with it Ozzie.
    LOL. Typical skins fan spouting off without even knowing why. Try reading the article.

    Ozzie is the GM, not the president. President Cass said he is “dissapointed this such a big issue in 2014” meaning he’s making about the media and society who are blowing this up.

    Don’t worry there will be a story about RGIII very soon since we all know we won’t be talking about the Redskins 1st round draft pick.

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