The voices continue to emerge regarding the decision of Michael Sam to come out as gay.
As if comments from Sam’s father didn’t make it clear that Sam will face real challenges, Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has said that, indeed, it won’t be easy for Sam and his eventual NFL team.
“It will definitely be a distraction, without a doubt,” Dansby told SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday, via ArizonaSports.com. “That’s something that you really don’t even really want to talk about. You want to talk about football and making plays, and doing stuff like that. And the team you’re about to play against. You don’t want to answer questions about one’s sexual preference. . . .
“You’ll try to mask the situation, but it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be hard, man. Because it’s such a big topic. Him being the first guy to really come out and say those things, there’s going to be a lot of questions being asked day in and day out. . . . I think it will be difficult, just from the nature of the game. And the history of the game and the things that go on in a locker room; I think it will be tough, I think it will be tough on him. I think it will be real hard on him.”
Of course, it wasn’t hard for Sam last year in Missouri. But he made his declaration at a time when he already was a team leader. Now, he’s coming in as the rookie, the newcomer, the guy who’s trying to prove himself. It will be harder to win over a locker room without a history of proven ability.
And so he’ll have to prove his ability, every day. In time, the questions will subside — just as they always do. But the questions will be there, at least for a while.
On one hand, having three months for everyone to ask questions and process the issues before the draft could diminish the potential distraction down the road. On the other hand, the drafting of Sam in early May will dust everything off all over again, renewing the questions and extending the story into training camp, the preseason, and (if Sam makes the team) beyond.