Michael Sam: The Weight Lifted off his Shoulders

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It’s never easy being a trendsetter.   Being the first one to stand out from the rest of a mass number of people take serious courage and bravery. Michael Sam took not only the entire football world by surprise, but caught the attention of the entire nation when he announced he was gay.

When people think about football players, they think of big, strong, athletic, and tough men who love running around hitting people. Looking at Michael Sam you would think he’s just a regular football player. The 6-foot-2 260lbs defensive end from the University of Missouri set school records, won national awards, and led the Tigers to a 12-2 season including a victory in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

But Sam’s story goes much beyond the visual appearance of a college football player entering the draft. His story is about being accepted, and being his own individual person.

On Saturday Michael Sam sat down with ESPN, The New York Times, and Outsports and simply uttered the phrase, “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

Sam admitted that he had told his teammates and coaches before the season began in August that he was gay. His relationships with his teammates, classmates, and members of the Missouri community supported his decision and never let that affect how they viewed Sam as a person.

Both CNN and CBS News had this story as part of their main news Monday morning. Both played clips of the interview that Sam had from ESPN, and then visualized the statement that the NFL gave in regards to his announcement. This was the following statement release by the NFL; “We admire Michael Sam’s honest and courage… [and] look forward to welcoming and supporting [him] in 2014.”

Fox News however chose a different approach to the situation. In the clip on Fox News, the station focused its segment on interviews from other players and coaches that were supportive of Sam and his decision. Fox News however also focused on the impact it had on other players both around the NFL and college football.

In addition to the Fox News segment, Fox Sports 1 had its own clip that included an interview from Saints Linebacker Jonathan Vilma and how he said the NFL wasn’t ready for openly gay players in fear of how the atmosphere in the locker room. Vilma went on saying that players weren’t ready to change and shower with an openly gay man.

It’s still too early to really get a feel for how different news stations treat this incident. The details of the whole story are still being arranged and there hasn’t been much opinion pieces on major news stations.

Whether you support Michael Sam for being an openly gay man or not, there is one thing you do have to respect about the young man, and that’s his courage and fearless attitude and his willingness to go against the curve and be openly gay in the NFL.

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