Greg Ellis worries about Michael Sam patting someone on the butt

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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.

76 responses to “Greg Ellis worries about Michael Sam patting someone on the butt

  1. I don’t think the author of this article understands Ellis’ intended meaning. He’s not saying that it bothers HIM, he’s saying with the number of differing views amongst players in the NFL, how will they react.

    I think it’s great that Sam is breaking these barriers, but it’s a fair question. Some players may not like it, even if they’re ok with having a gay teammate.

  2. He’s also concerned that he could contract cooties while being in the presence of an unattractive woman.

  3. That would be way worse than a straight guy patting you on the butt and called you baby, right?

    Or would it actually be more normal?

    Or is this whole thing so stupid that we, as adults, should be ashamed of ourselves for making a big deal about it?

  4. I always assumed they did this because they don’t have pads on their backside. You see a lot less of it than in the past; today they slap each other in the helmet, concussion protocol be damned.

  5. So they are free to speak up and say they aren’t comfortable with something that’s been a large part if the nfl culture? What if they don’t feel comfortable speaking up? What if all the sudden there is a sexual harassment lawsuit against a gay player because someone didn’t like being smacked on the butt? He was free to speak his mind though right? Probably should have just said what you are doing makes me uncomfortable right? Please stop doing that right? Or would we all the sudden vilify michael sam and start a sexual harassment sensitivity program for the nfl locker room? Please let me know what your thoughts are. It sounds eerily similar to another hot topic in the media lately.

  6. Um, Greg, you may not be aware but Michael Sam has been playing football for years – as a gay man – and no one has reportedly had a problem with him patting butts, or being in the locker room, or showering. Unless you think this is all a brand new issue only because us is now publicly gay. Oh, but wait, he did come out to his Mizzou team mates last star. So strike that.

    Nope – this is just about you being an idiot.

  7. Patting someone another guy on the butt is ok if you are straight is ok but if you are gay it isn’t? Pardon me but a guy patting dudes on the butt kind of looks gay no matter what your sexual orientation is. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  8. Just b/c Greg Ellis played college football, doesn’t mean he was actually a student. Didn’t he go to UNC? Didn’t they have a big academic scandal amongst their football players that led to the dismissal of Butch Davis, John Blake, etc? He’s probably functionally illiterate, so I wouldn’t give him much credence.

  9. wow either sam doesn’t pat anyone on the butt or have a team meeting and ask the guys who would have a problem with it simple solutions end of a stupid story!!

  10. Ellis will be the first one crying when Sam slaps someone else’s butt. Why didn’t he slap my butt? Does he think I’m ugly? Is it because my butt looks big in my uniform? What’s wrong with me?

  11. The vast majority of the comments from NFL players have been positive. I suspect most of the “less enlightened” responses regards Sam are from players who have never knowingly been around a gay person let alone player. This will be a good experience for them.

  12. i would think that his teamates and him should have a big boy talk right from the beginning so they can become comfortable with each other. i’m sure he will understand that some maybe uncomfortable with him. but at the end of the day they will have to get over it. good luck to him.

  13. The media is dying for us to come down on this guy for his comments. What he is saying makes perfect sense to me, and he has the right to say it.

  14. While I support Michael Sam as an individual, I don’t find Greg Ellis’s comments to be ridiculous. The highest level of football that I played was in high school, but I didn’t care for having a teammate slap or pat my ass.

  15. I’m straight, and have been supportive of gay rights since I was a teen (I’m in my 50’s). I have no issue with gays, gay marriage, etc.

    But I can honestly say I HATED it when teammates would slap my butt in sports. Seriously. Hated it. I don’t think I’d like it much better on a coed team if a chick did it, frankly. It’s my butt. We’re in public!

    It’s just weird.

  16. I wouldn’t want gay or straight men slapping me down there. I can’t even imagine how that started and i’m even more clueless on how it continued past the first time someone ever did it.

  17. There have been gay players for years. Gay saints…steelers. ..chiefs. .and so on. They just didn’t disclose it. Doesn’t change anything. Just because someone chooses to talk about it. It just speaks to Ellis’s insecurity. He is the one who needs to grow up.

  18. So if a player runs out of bounds and pats a female cheerleader on the behind that would be ok too?

    Kind of double standards depending on how you loo at it.

  19. So say there is ever a female on an NFL team . And a straight NFL player slaps her on the butt…is that ok? I’m sure if that female was offended, no one would say she has to grow up.

    So how is it any different if a gay dude smacks another guy in the butt?

  20. And what about fumble scrums? Will RBs hold the ball a little tighter if Sam is lined up on defense? Will O-lineman hesitate that extra second before diving for a loose ball? And what if someone comes out of the pile with a hand on the wrong ball?

    Of course, this brings a whole new meaning to TJ MacDonald’s tackle of Vernon Davis last year.

    Kind of makes a little butt pat look like no big worry.

  21. Whatever… that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. If you feel uncomfortable, I understand, but his remark is so totally stupid… shame on you Greg Ellis.

  22. I never really understood the whole butt patting thing when I played. It didn’t bother me, but I couldn’t explain why having pads on made it normal for us to all spank each other. But, there’s nothing remotely sexual about it, so it doesn’t matter if Sam does it.

  23. Micheal Sam just want to play NFL football he knows the rules of the game. Why is the guys worried about Micheal Sam a team are going to pick him, NFL can’t stop him from playing the game of football. If the players in college didn’t have a problem with him in college why are the guys in the NFL worried. He may not be the only gay person in the NFL if nobody want him I hope the Saints get him.

  24. My question is what will the media do when one of Michael Sam’s teammates pats HIM on the butt? This whole thing is nuts … on the field, these are all men playing at an extraordinarily high level. Sexuality of ANY form should be a complete afterthought.

  25. Yes, people have a right to say what they think. I agree that there are people that don’t understand and I hope that these players aren’t completely demonized for speaking about something they don’t understand . However, me being a straight man. I don’t need this guy turning into a spokesperson. Frankly, because he comes across as a moron. I am also sure that many members of the gay community don’t need Michael Sam as a spokesperson. The nfl players that have a hard time with it seem like few and far between. The issue will be on game day when he has 70k fans all liquored up screaming at him.

  26. P..Y..H… Protect Your Hole. That’s going to be some of the players mindset around this guy. Don’t be surprised that once he is on a team reports will come out about players refusing to shower with him. If people get upset about it then tough. It’s not even close to what Jackie Robinson had to go through. This guy is not a martyr.

  27. For everyone saying it’s no big deal – so if there’s a female team member (trainer, cheerleader, etc.) on the sideline, it’s no big deal if one of the players smackers her on the butt?

    Equality swings both ways. If it’s inappropriate on a male to female basis, then it should be inappropriate on a gay male to male basis.

  28. If he fancys men, as most men fancy women IN THE WORKPLACE there should be no patting of the rear as its a sexual contact of sorts. I can’t pat my female coworkers butt I think are cute so he shouldn’t be either. If they shower together, and he’s attracted to say Dez, how is that ok? Or appropriate? or not uncomfortable for Dez? I mean what was the point to begin with? There at least has to be some boundaries and patting teammates butts should cross it, especially for him. Ellis said nothing wrong.

  29. Yeah, perfectly reasonable fear. I’m always afraid that those heterosexual football players won’t be able to control themselves while being in close proximity to scantily clad cheerleaders. I mean come on, you know what those heterosexuals sexual preferences are and you know what they are thinking and those women dance provocatively you know. How can we expect them to concentrate on football!

  30. This is who and what football players really are. it Doesn’t matter how much PR rhetoric the front offices and the coaches spew. The guys in the locker room are definitely not ready for this.
    “What can I say to him?”
    “What if he checks me out in the shower?”
    “Can I walk around naked in the locker room?”
    “What if he pats me on the butt and calls me baby?”
    “What if he’s on top of me in a pileup?”
    “If he looks at me, does that mean he wants me?”
    Sam better be one helluva football player to over come this kind of stuff.

  31. Ellis isn’t mature enough to handle this. There will be more like him in the NFL, but Michael Sam is prepared for this and knows this will be a big challenge. He won’t be calling people “baby” or patting a guys butt. He’s aware how other players might perceive this and will most likely just play his heart out on the field and let that do the talking. Get a grip world this is the first of many, don’t be surprised if players already in the league come out. At the end of the day we just want our team to win the superbowl.

  32. Cue the cry over “intolerance”! Give me a break. Everyone knows what he is saying is, when you know or THINK someone is straight, you don’t read into the patting and the “baby” talk. In you’re head you process that he is straight and there is nothing behind the putting and baby talk. However, when a gay person does it and you KNOW they are gay, you begin to wonder what is that about. Now you have to process whether you are cool with that or not. So, it is the knowing he is gay that adds a dimension to the concern.

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