Michael Sam: Culture Change for the NFL, or Just a Stunt?

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Courtesy of MCT Campus Service

Is this guy just trolling the entire NFL? Michael Sam at St. Louis Rams press conference.

The St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam with the 294th pick in the NFL draft. This makes Sam the first openly gay player in the NFL.

There is a lot of controversy over Sam, some say he is gay and some detractors say he is not. If he is not gay then he is a marketing genius (or has one for an agent).  He proclaimed his sexuality  a few months before the draft, either to make his name known since isn’t that great of a player, or he legitimately wants to change the culture of the sport.

One of the first photos circulated of Sam since the draft was him sharing a kiss with his boyfriend. Now that draws the question is he just trolling the NFL? By which I mean by trolling that he is possibly not really out to change the world but simply mocking the usual image of the macho man we normally associate with football players.   It also begs the question of how big will the next pre-draft stunt have to be to top this?

While on that subject, the usual way to be considered a macho man in the NFL is you can be a rapist, run a dog-fighting ring,  be a convicted felon, and you get basically get brownie points for killing someone. All that has already been done, and makes it obvious that the league (and the fans) will tolerate a LOT of negative behavior from these pumped- up studs before anyone considers it a problem.  Anyone who thinks less of Sam for who he chooses to date really does seem pretty hypocritical if you look at it that way.

Well if Sam’s sexuality is the real deal, and if he is accepted by his teammates and the public, then it may change the NFL culture of being a big manly-man–but those are some big “ifs.”  It could also change America’s idea on football players, and maybe masculinity in general…as long as they still bring the pain on the field.  Sam hasn’t even officially made the roster yet, so we will see.