It's an End Zone, Not a Podium
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Politics and Activism

It's an End Zone, Not a Podium


I had a very hard time convincing myself to write this article. I knew as soon as the article started to form in my head it would enrage a lot of people if I decided to write it.I started and stopped working on it at least a dozen times. However, sports are the one thing I love. They are the one thing I feel pure raw emotion towards every time I do anything in regards to them - even write. I couldn’t sit idly by watching politics dismantle my passion anymore. That is why I finally decided to voice my opinions on Michael Sam.Sam was an incredible football player at the University of Missouri, one I personally loved to watch play. However, earlier this year, as he was entering the NFL combine, he announced that he was gay. This pissed me off. Not because he is a homosexual, I'm not a bigot. I believe that your sexual preference is your own business. It is just a small portion of who a person is, and it should not define them. There is no other company, or organization, outside of the boy scouts, that forces it’s members to declare their sexuality. 

That is what pisses me off about Sam’s announcement. The NFL’s inexperience in these matters, and the over emphasis that our society has put on personal sexuality has forced Sam to be labeled solely by his sexuality. Even though his sexuality does not determine his athletic ability or his worth as a human being. Yet he had to come out so any team that drafted him would, “know what they are getting into.” 

When he came out, I had to hear extremists on both sides talk about his decision. Extremists on the left applauded him as symbol of hope for the gay community. While the extremists on the right side of the equation first came out saying that they didn’t understand why Tim Tebow was met with more oppression because of his faith then Sam was because of his sexuality. Then I heard the logical argument, which I believed for awhile -- that he came out because he is a selfish person. 

It makes sense when you think about it. Now, if he doesn’t get 
drafted, it’s not because NFL scouts and coaches didn’t like what he brought to the table, but because the league holds bigoted opinions. He would also get to be the center of attention now no matter who else is on his team. Every question a reporter asks him will be directed to what affect he is having in the locker room instead of how he is bettering the team with his athletic abilities. 

I thought this way - but only until I was sitting on my couch watching him getting interviewed. I sat there and looked into the eyes of a tired man. Sam was bombarded by reporters asking him the questions I knew they would. Questions that included how will your sexuality affect you in the locker room? Do you think you hurt your NFL stock by coming out? Is it hard for you to be in a locker room setting with other men? 

Then Sam, with his tired eyes, stopped them and asked them questions that made me realize I was completely wrong in my interpretation of Sam. He asked them a question along the lines of why are you all asking me about how I am going to disrupt the team? Why are you not asking me how I am going to better the team I am drafted by, and how I can help them? 

That’s when I realized, even if Sam didn’t want to come out, he was forced to because of our social views. Our society has forced this young man to come out because of the importance that has been put on sexuality as a defining characteristic. I think it's an abomination that we are judging and labeling one another based on sexuality, rather than evaluating each other based on our personal worth and character. Instead, we try and broadcast it and make it prevalent in places it shouldn’t be like the Boy Scouts, and sports. 

Honestly, what good does trying to make an 11 year old boy figure out his sexuality do? Will he be able to tie knots better if he’s straight, and be able to build fires better if he is gay? Or did 
Michael Sam get faster in the 40 after he came out? 

I guess what I am trying to say is that I hate how Michael Sam is having to go through this, but lets not let it happen to anyone else. Let’s stop forcing people to be branded by their sexuality. In fact let’s forget about sexuality in everything except for the one place it matters, who you are trying to take home tonight.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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