Former Mizzou football player announces he is gay, but let’s “Stop Talking About It”

Zack Balzer

Michael SamThe Internet is a very powerful thing.

When Richard Sherman’s famous interview after the Seahawks victory over the 49ers in the NFC Championship happened, it spread on the Internet like wildfire. The same goes with what happened on Sunday, when former Mizzou defensive end and upcoming NFL Draft hopeful Michael Sam announced that he is gay. This “shocks” the sports world as he would be the first openly gay NFL player. While there have already been current professional players announcing their sexuality, such as NBA player Jason Collins, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that this is breaking news every time that a player announces something like this.

On Sunday, I was watching TV when I got the notification on my phone from my SportsCenter app: “Missouri DE Michael Sam says that he’s gay; 1st team All-American could become 1st openly gay NFL player.” I got a similar notification when Jason Collins came out, also the same with when Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former NFL player who also announced his support of gay rights. Do we as a society really have to recognize this as breaking news?

When asked about racism, Morgan Freeman responds to the question of how are we going to get rid of racism, with the simple answer: “Stop talking about it.”

I think this applies to making a big deal of openly homosexual sports players, along with any other openly homosexual people. Stop talking about it. If you want to stop people from bashing other peoples’ sexuality, stop talking about it.

My personal opinion is that I completely support homosexuality, and we are all the same on the inside, and this is why I believe it is ridiculous that it is big news when this stuff is announced. After the “big news” came out, Michael Sam was of course on Twitter.

He said, “I want to thank everybody for their support and encouragement, especially @espn, @nytimes and @nfl. I am proud to tell my story to the world!” This is just giving people more reasons to talk about it, and not to mention that he has 14,000 retweets and counting.

While reading through Sam’s responses to his tweets about his announcement, one recurring word I saw was “courage.” I do believe that it was courageous that he came out to the public, but we shouldn’t be at the stage where we think it’s courageous. Why should it take courage to tell people who you really are?

If an NFL player came out and said, “I’d like to announce to the world that I am straight. Thanks for your support!”, we would look at him like he’s crazy because that is considered “normal”, but when someone comes out and says that he is gay, it’s “courageous” because homosexuality is “different.”

I believe that if we want to get rid of ignorance when it comes to sexuality, or anything for that matter, we should stop recognizing it. These players that are coming out aren’t opening the door for future players to openly announce their sexuality, but opening the door for those players to be comfortable enough with their sexuality to be able to live their professional and personal life without the fear of being ridiculed for who they are.