While the Olympians are away in Russia, a quantum shift has occurred in the NFL, or is about to.
Michael Sam has not only declared his intentions to play in the National Football League, but he is also announced that he is gay.
The media, of course, jumped on this saying that Sam was the first gay player in NFL history. Not true. We probably will never know who the first gay player in the NFL was. How do we know that someone back in the 1930s playing in the NFL wasn’t gay? The same holds true for other sports. I’m sure there have been closeted gay baseball players, basketball players, hockey players.
In the statistically crazed world of sports, where numbers rule the roost, and the first of everything and the last of everything is recorded, I doubt it has occurred to anyone to keep track of such things. Speaking personally, I hope we never get to that point.
In the macho manly world of the NFL, having a gay player in its ranks is going to take some adjustment for the players. But sooner or later, this was bound to happen. Just like the color barrier was broken after World War II, we are now crossing the sexual preference barrier, and just like back then when there were crackers that said black people have no place in sports, some will say there’s no place for gay men in the NFL.
I’m not one of those people. I’m sure that the sports world will get past this barrier as it did the others.