Last Sunday night, after former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay, Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith made this observation, via Twitter: “There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to change the culture.”
Most assumed Smith was referring to Sam. Via Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune, Sam was making a broader observation.
“It was about the fact the Redskins’ name is what it is, the fact that Jonathan Martin doesn’t feel comfortable, the fact that Marcus Smart is being called names on the sideline,” Smith said. “It was more about all those things than just [Sam]. I think that’s just another example, Michael Sam coming out. We need to face things head-on and be a little bit more responsible about the way we see things.”
If you liked the sound of that, consider Smith’s assessment of sliding to round seven of the 2011 draft. Unlike so many other guys who are overlooked, Smith doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder; he understands why it happened.
“[Teams] will draft guys in the first round who will be busts and never have the careers they expect to have because of human nature or weaknesses they might have,” Smith said. “Learning, dedication, passion. Those are things that can’t be measured, so you don’t really blame those people.”
Most never even noticed Smith until he caught the ball that had been tipped away from 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in the end zone during crunch time of the NFC title game. Smith doesn’t seem like the type of guy who attempts to get attention. But when the attention comes Smith’s way, he’s got some intriguing things to say.