We have a new leader in the contest to see who can say the most ridiculous thing about Michael Sam, the former Missouri defensive end who is poised to become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
That leader is Greg Ellis, the former Cowboys defensive end who said on ESPN Radio in Dallas that he’s worried about the consequences of Sam patting a teammate on the butt.
“If he pats somebody on the butt — I hope ESPN don’t get mad and never have me back — but if he pats somebody on the butt, how is that to be received? If he does that how is that to be received? If he said, ‘Come on baby’? I called guys baby all the time on the football field, but when you have taken a stand and went and go public and say that, ‘I am gay,’ how is that going to be received? I’ve seen guys, I had guys on the Dallas Cowboys football team — I won’t mention names — who did not want you to pat them on their butt. So God forbid if you pat one of those guys on the butt it’s going to be a major problem,” Ellis said, via the Dallas Morning News.
Some people find it strange that football players pat each other on the butt, and if some players don’t want to be patted on the butt, they’re free to speak up and say so. But the butt slap has so long been a part of the football culture that NFL Films once devoted a five-minute video to the topic. This may come as a shock to Ellis, but there have already been plenty of gay football players slapping teammates on the butt through the years, and it’s never been a problem. Those were closeted gay players; Sam may become the first openly gay NFL player to slap a teammate on the butt, and it won’t be a problem if Sam slaps a teammate on the butt, either.
If Ellis really believes that Sam slapping a teammate on the butt presents a “major problem,” then Ellis needs to grow up.