Some teams could now be more inclined to draft Michael Sam

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At first blush, the news that draft prospect Michael Sam is openly gay could cause his draft stock to fall because, all things being equal, teams will be more inclined to opt for a player who won’t be bringing extra media attention and news trucks and all the stuff that goes along with having a player who has a high profile for something other than his football abilities.

But while some teams will indeed shy away from the potential distraction this can bring, some teams also could opt to embrace the situation.

Every year, there’s at least one team that volunteers for HBO’s Hard Knocks, even though most don’t want the distraction that necessarily comes from having the NFL Films cameras and microphones infiltrating all aspects of training camp.  The teams that volunteer are willing to overlook the negatives because they believe the potential positives outweigh it.

Sam’s presence will attract extra attention for a team that may not have a national following.  His jersey will sell.  Aggressively.  The league office will surely look favorably on the franchise that gives Sam a shot — especially if he starts to slide on draft weekend.

For some franchises, a potential “distraction” could be a useful diversion.  As the Redskins continue to fight the appearance of outdated thinking reflected in the team’s name, surely one of the franchise’s high-priced P.R. gurus will suggest drafting Sam as a way to show that the organization isn’t as backward as those attacking the name would suggest.  Likewise, if Ted Wells’ report regarding the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito situation paints the Dolphins’ in a negative light regarding issues of bullying and harassment, welcoming Sam to the organization via the draft could help reverse that perception.  Ditto for the Vikings, who face an ongoing investigation regarding the alleged use of homophobic comments by special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

Also, just is it would be naive to assume some teams won’t avoid Sam, it also would be naive to assume that there won’t be at least one owner who sees himself as a potential modern-day Branch Rickey.

Ideally, Sam won’t be drafted or not drafted because of his sexual orientation.  Ideally, it won’t be an issue at all during the draft or at any other time in his career.

But we need to be realistic.  Some teams will shy away from Sam.  But some could actually gravitate toward him, for reasons unrelated to his actual football skills.

39 responses to “Some teams could now be more inclined to draft Michael Sam

  1. not only is he a good football player, but nfl teams should want to be the first to have a gay player on their roster. its a new age, people. there are still many firsts to be had

  2. “it also would be naive to assume that there won’t be at least one owner who sees himself as a potential modern-day Branch Rickey.”

    Most owners are smart enough to stay out of personnel decisions.

  3. You wouldn’t know it by my many posts here, but I like to consider myself an intellectual type fellow. I have a master’s degree, own a successful small business, write music for TV. I’ve done a few things.

    To hear people talk about this guy and say “how would I react if he looked at me in the locker room” or “some people agree with his choices, while others don’t” and other such nonsense is embarrassing.

    This guy is terrific for what he’s doing and I wish him the best of luck wherever he plays, even if it’s New England. Well, maybe not there.

  4. And it will be a shame that several teams may actually like him will get bombarded with “They just took Sam to make themselves look better,” like you’ve already attempted to do with the Fins and Skins.

  5. Yes there will definitely be more media attention during training camp and possibly at different points during the season. However, GMs shouldn’t expect the media attention to be sustained over the season or last for years. Attention spans are short and his being gay will be less of a story over time, especially if he is accepted in the locker room. Hopefully GMs will see the value of this player over the long-term and not get stuck on short term inconvenience.

  6. Seems odd that many of those who have said in the past this should not be a big deal are the very ones who make this a big deal.
    You want a society where a gay man can play football and it be accepted, don’t act like its the greatest event in history.
    We all know gay men have played football in the past, and it just happened. We can look at MO last season and see what it would be like if a gay man announced it to his teammates. It was no big deal.
    Why, because the MO players and coaches, both those who do, and do not, have an issue with the lifestyle, just moved on.
    Now he goes public and its the press making it this huge deal. Let him, the talent evaluators and his team mates and opponents go about their business. We might see a repeat of what happened at MO. A man and his team mates and coaches simply going about a football season.

  7. He should be drafted based on his ability as a football player. Nothing else.
    Ideally, sure. But 90% of the Head Coaches don’t even want Hard Knocks in their TC cuz its deemed “too big a distraction.” Imagine the zoo it’ll be with Sam? One totally-unrelated-to-sports website or publication after another looking for locker room access, questions completely unrelated to football or the development of the team, etc…
    And then, what if there’s an incident of some type?
    If he can play, he can play and I wish him nothing but the best.
    But if I’m a Head Coach or GM, I’m not at all certain I’d want to take on this highly potential headache.

  8. its been about 12 hours and you’ve run through every scenario possible… people aren’t calling him courageous for nothing

  9. “jimjets says:
    Feb 10, 2014 11:58 AM
    You wouldn’t know it by my many posts here, but I like to consider myself an intellectual type fellow. I have a master’s degree, own a successful small business, write music for TV. I’ve done a few things.”
    Is that you Ron Burgandy? #IKnowPeople

  10. To Quote from the Article:

    “But we need to be realistic. Some teams will shy away from Sam. But some could actually gravitate toward him, for reasons unrelated to his actual football skills.”

    Then that said team is very dumb then. You draft based on Skill, charterer and scheme fit. If you start looking at parameters other than that, you are wasting, or undervaluing your own picks.

    Those picks are like Gold and you only get a handful of them. You need to treat them preciously, not throw them away because it feels good.

    This guy can play, if you think he will help your team win games and he is a good match from a character and scheme fit, then you slot him on your board, and if he is the highest rated guy when your turn comes up, you pick him.

    End of story, no drama, just good scouting and management.

  11. Yes, Sam will get drafted by someone – but Sam’s draft stock did NOT go up after this announcement.

  12. San Francisco would seem to be the obviously best place for him. He would be right at home in that city. The only problem would be that there might be too many distractions for him to concentrate on football.

  13. Last year people were having a very similar conversation about Manti Teo. Didn’t he still go first two rounds? After his fake girlfriend fiasco everyone started poking holes in his game and how he was too slow and small for the next level. This dude will be the same kind of deal (already scouts saying his stats are inflated). He will end up going close to where he would have had this not come out.

  14. I sure hope the Eagles,Chiefs and Dolphins don’t even think of drafting him.This guy has distraction written all over him.If you want to win stay away from all of the negative distractions.

  15. I will be very interested to see whether the film, measurables, and football acumen match the draft slot. I do not believe that NFL teams will put PR ahead of football, but it would not be out of the realm of possibility for it to take place.

    Based on what I have seen and heard from him, I am rooting for him to do well. But it all boils down to whether he can play or not. The first time he sacks the opposing QB, he becomes less of a sideshow, and more of a football player. That’s how you gain acceptance with a largely closed-minded populace.

  16. The guy is Dwight-Freeney-ish in size. That doesn’t mean he’s got that talent. He’s done well at the level he’s at, but he’s undersized for the NFL at his position and unless he’s a lot more athletic than he’s shown to be on tape so far, he’s a late round/udfa type player…We’ve seen hundreds of these types flounder in the NFL for every Freeney that comes out… So he enhanced his chances of getting drafted and cleared the slate of what could have been a messy situation at the combine, if he had NOT come out publicly…Big deal…smart move on his and his agent’s part…as to how it’ll affect a locker room, that has to play itself out…

  17. Whatever his talents off the job, if he is skilled at his position that will become apparent to the scouts and G.M.’s of the league, and that will determine his future in the league. Quite frankly I don’t see the problem here. Its not like he’s going to try soliciting in the locker room. He’d be asking for major trouble if he did, and I’m sure he knows that. When you come right down to it, gay ACL’s tear just as easily as straight ACL’s.

    He’s getting it out in the open now, so that others can’t use it against him later.

  18. I don’t think too many GMs want to have the distraction of the media attention this guy brings.

    But he may have helped his draft stock by making public what all in the NFL likely already knew (Sam announced to his team that he’s gay – one has to think that secret has leaked out of the locker room)

    For the “right” team – one lead by a coach who doesn’t tolerate nosy media – and a team that values an undersized (no jokes please) tweener (no jokes please), he could represent good value if he falls the later rounds of the draft.

    He likely improved his draft stock by at least a round with that announcement. At the very least he showed courage and leadership and an expressed desire to work hard – all of which coaches and GMs do very much value.

  19. Projected as the 17th best DE in the upcoming draft. Lets keep it all in perspective. He’ll come into the league with protected Spotted Owl status so the glaring eye of a favorable media will call out any nonsense but it is play on the field and durability that will determine his success. And just as his orientation should not be a qualifier to be in the league nor should his orientation be reason if he fails to make it.

  20. Please Lord don’t let the Chargers draft him!! Not that I have anything against the kid, but it will be a media circus and SD already “took one for the team” by drafting Te’o last year. It’s sombody else’s turn.

  21. given the fact that he came out to his Teammates and coaching staff back in August of 2013, it is safe to assume that the scouts and GM’s on NFL teams ALREADY KNEW about his sexual preference, and most likely adjusted their “is he a distraction” draft rating from
    “what happens when the media outs him”
    “now that he has come out. how long will the media harp on it?”

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