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N.F.L. Draft Prospect Michael Sam Comes Out As Gay

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Missouri

University of  Missouri Defensive Lineman Michael Sam, who was named Defensive Player Of The Year by the Associated Press and is expected to be a top prospect in the mid-levels of the N.F.L. Draft, has publicly come out of the closet:

Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them.

As Michael Sam, a defensive lineman, began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. With that, Mr. Sam set himself on a path to become the first publicly gay player in the National Football League.

“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,” Mr. Sam said Sunday in an interview with The New York Times, the first time he had spoken publicly about his sexual orientation.

Mr. Sam, a senior who was listed at 6 feet 2 inches and 260 pounds, had a stellar season as Missouri finished 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl. He was a first-team all-American and was named the Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference, widely considered the top league in college football. Teammates voted him Missouri’s most valuable player.

Now Mr. Sam enters an uncharted area of the sports landscape. He is making his public declaration before he is drafted, to the potential detriment to his professional career. And he is doing so as he prepares to enter a league with an overtly macho culture, where controversies over homophobia have attracted recent attention.

As the pace of the gay rights movement has accelerated in recent years, the sports industry has changed relatively little for men, with no publicly gay athletes in the N.F.L., the N.B.A., the N.H.L. or Major League Baseball. Against this backdrop, Mr. Sam could become a symbol for the country’s gay rights movement or a flash point in a football culture war — or both.

Mr. Sam, 24, is projected to be chosen in the early rounds of the N.F.L. draft in May, ordinarily a path to a prosperous pro career. He said he decided to come out publicly now because he sensed that rumors were circulating.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” said Mr. Sam, who also spoke with ESPN on Sunday. “I just want to own my truth.”

But the N.F.L. presents the potential for unusual challenges. In the past year or so, it has been embroiled in controversies ranging from antigay statements from players to reports that scouts asked at least one prospective player if he liked girls. Recently, Chris Kluwe, a punter, said that he was subject to homophobic language from coaches and pushed out of a job with the Minnesota Vikings because he vocally supported same-sex marriage laws. And last week, Jonathan Vilma, a New Orleans Saints linebacker, said in an interview with NFL Network that he did not want a gay teammate.

“I think he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted,” said Mr. Vilma, a 10-year league veteran.

In a statement Sunday night, the league said: “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the N.F.L. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”

On paper, Sam seems like the kind of player that a team looking to beef up its Defensive Line would be willing to pick up, and it’s entirely possible that this will indeed happen. At the same time, though, there’s no denying that by making this announcement before the draft, Sam has placed immense pressure on the NFL and on the teams. If he ends up not being drafted at all, then the story will be about whether or not he was passed over because he’s gay. If he is drafted, as he probably should be, then both he and the team that selects him will be the focus of unrelenting media attention for being the first openly gay player in the NFL, indeed the first openly gay player in a major American team sport. How that will play out on the field and off is going to be a huge unknown factor.

Sports Illustrated offers this preview of how things may go for Sam:

I spoke to four club officials Sunday—three general managers, one scout—and the reaction to a third-round prospect being gay ran the gamut. I spoke to all anonymously, because with such a touchy subject, I assumed all would either no-comment me (and one other GM did) or say something so sanitized it wouldn’t really be the truth. I don’t like to do anonymous sources to write an entire story, but I felt in this case it would give the best information possible.

“Should I really care?” one GM said. “Is it going to be that big a deal? Aren’t we beyond this?”

“It’s not a shocking thing to me, and it won’t be to our organization,” another GM said. “You’ll have old-school guys on your team saying, ‘Are you kidding, putting this guy on our team?’ And you’ll have other guys say, ‘Who cares? I knew two gay guys who came out in college.’ “

“It’ll totally depend on your leadership,” the scout said. “A team with strong leadership at coach and in the locker room, like New England, I would imagine, would be okay. I could see Belichick say, ‘This is the way it is. There’s no story.’ And guys would just accept him. There’d be no choice. But without that strong leadership, I could see it being divisive, and I could see a team saying, ‘We don’t need this.’ “

Two team reps didn’t know the story when we spoke, with me not naming names and simply asking what would happen if, as I expected, a gay player would be coming out before the combine. One GM said he’d heard that Sam might be the player. But the fourth, a general manager, said he not only knew the story and that Sam was the player, but that his team had discussed it at draft meetings in the past few days.

“We talked about it this week,” the GM said. “First of all, we don’t think he’s a very good player. The reality is he’s an overrated football player in our estimation. Second: He’s going to have expectations about where he should be drafted, and I think he’ll be disappointed. He’s not going to get drafted where he thinks he should. The question you will ask yourself, knowing your team, is, ‘How will drafting him affect your locker room?’ And I am sorry to say where we are at this point in time, I think it’s going to affect most locker rooms. A lot of guys will be uncomfortable. Ten years from now, fine. But today, I think being openly gay is a factor in the locker room.”

I asked this general manager: “Do you think he’ll be drafted?”

“No,” he said.

We don’t know who this final General Manager is, of course, and he only represents one team in the N.F.L., but one has to wonder how many other team executives are echoing what he said, and what it means for what will happen in the draft. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me. If Sam ends up a New York Giant then I’ll be cheering for him, if he ends up playing for anyone else in the NFC East then I won’t. Whether he’s openly gay or not shouldn’t really matter to anyone anymore than the color of Jackie Robinson’s skin should have mattered to anyone in Major League Baseball. In the end, all that should matter is how good a player he is. In that regard I find it puzzling how someone who was named Defensive Player of the Year would not be a serious prospect for any NFL team looking to fill a gap in that area as the final GM quoted above seems to suggest. That’s why it seems likely that there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the NFL during draft time, and if Sam doesn’t get drafted there are going to be a lot of people asking questions.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Michael Sam just spent an incredibly successful season being a teammate at an high-profile SEC team. Presumably without incident. If that can happen despite being surrounded by less mature college kids, I fail to see how he can’t be successful in a professional organization. Unless, that is, the NFL is at its core not very professional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Now if only he can end up on a team with Richie Incognito….

    If he isn’t the sort of impact player Jackie Robinson was…regardless of color or sexual orientation…good luck. Great players get treated differently. Right or wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Rick Almeida says:

    I am very proud to be a Missouri alum today.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shorter Doug: “Michael Sam gives up on his dream of playing in the NFL.”

    I sincerely hope I am wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Peacewood says:

    Kudos to Sam for declaring his orientation before the draft instead of ex post facto.

    He’ll be drafted, but low. Middle rounds, perhaps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Peacewood: He was already graded at 3rd to 4th round because his size is too small for an NFL 4-3 defensive end and he supposedly does not have the speed for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Don’t be surprised if this drops him out of the draft altogether. Which makes one wonder why anyone would sign him as a UDFA considering the “distractions” that are sure to follow.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  7. grumpy realist says:

    You’d think a team would rather have an openly gay player who has talent over a straight person that doesn’t.

    (And of course, the U.S. military, the Israeli military, and the U.K. military have all fallen to pieces now that they accept gay individuals.)

    The guy’s already proven he’s a damn good player–who cares about his orientation? If I were a coach, I’d snap him up instante.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: The NFL accepts gay individuals too, as long as they pretend to be straight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Andre Kenji says:

    @grumpy realist: Homosexuality is also a huge taboo on soccer. Here in Brazil there is only one player that came out as gay(In fact, he was outed, and in the beggining he denied it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. PJ says:

    I have no idea about their actual needs, but it probably would be a good PR move for the Washington Snyders to pick him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. PJ says:

    @Andre Kenji:
    On the subject of gays in soccer:

    We are just reaching the 20th anniversary of the last time an openly gay football player played in England’s the top four divisions – Justin Fashanu at Torquay United.

    I wanted to work out what the chances were that no league footballer in that time has been gay, whether openly so or not, assuming that there was no reason for the proportion of gay footballers to differ from the proportion of gay people in society as a whole.

    Many surveys have tried to decide what proportion of British men are gay. Answers have ranged wildly from 1.5% to 6% so I took the lowest figure of 1.5%.

    In those 20 years, 13,600 players have appeared in the league. The chance of picking 13,600 men randomly from the whole population and none of those being gay is one chance in five times 10 to the power of 90. That’s one in five with 90 noughts. To make a slightly more understandable number, I then looked at Premier League players of which there have been 3,200 in the past 20 years.

    The chances of there being no gay footballer among those is 1 in 10 to the power of 21, which is one and 21 noughts. To illustrate how unlikely that is – if the entire earth’s surface was covered with drawing pins edge to edge, the chance of you picking up one specific drawing pin at random would be 200 times higher than the chance there being no gay player in the Premier League over the past 20 years.

    No doubt there have been many gay players in the Premier League, but perhaps not as many as proportionally as in the country as overall – we don’t really know.

    That’s in December 2012, about a year later, Thomas Hitzlsperger was the first ever Premier League star to come out. He did so _after_ he had retired.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Andre Kenji says:

    @PJ: I´m talking about Brazilian soccer. There is only one openly homosexual player (Richarlysson, that´s plays for Atletico Mineiro). Even in Europe they are relatively rare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. al-Ameda says:

    It will matter, and there will be many players who will be extremely uncomfortable with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. stonetools says:

    Guy has guts. Good luck to him .
    Every player who was voted SEC Defensive Player of the year, as Sam was, was drafted in the NFL.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Franklin says:

    @Rick Almeida: Yeah, the thing that struck me most was that a bunch of college-age males in Missouri seemed to have no problem with this whatsoever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. PJ says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I´m talking about Brazilian soccer.

    I know :)

    —-

    Robbie Rogers is out, and currently playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS, making him the only active gay player in any of the five major leagues in the US. He came out a couple of months before being signed by the Galaxy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Ben says:

    He came out because a ton of people already knew about it, rumors were swirling, and he was going to be outed anyways. So he just wanted to beat them to the punch and get it out there to disarm the rumors. He said as much himself. People who think he’s doing this because he’s trying to get in the news and push an agenda are f******g idiots. This will not help his draft stock, he knows that this will hurt it. But being outed by others is an extremely traumatic thing, and he was just trying to prevent that.

    As for how the NFL is going to deal with this, I can only wonder: if his whole team at Missou knew and was fine with it, why on earth can’t a professional team be fine with it? It leads me to believe that the players aren’t the problem. It’s the 60-80 year old owners and execs that don’t like it, and are going to project their bigotry onto their players. Yes, there are a few bigoted asshat players that will say dumb stuff, but I think they will be the minority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  18. Excellent news. It will be difficult for actual nay-sayers to get purchase enough to derail him in 2014. Too much instant focus on what people say, and then we all hear about it 1 second later. It will be nice when this becomes a non-issue. This is a hopeful sign we’re on the way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “He was already graded at 3rd to 4th round because his size is too small for an NFL 4-3 defensive end …”

    Heh, and Russell Wilson is too small to play quarterback!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. bill says:

    maybe he can be a “tight end”! glad evryone has a new gay person to focus on, whether he’s good or bad it’ll be because he’s gay….

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 31

  21. Gustopher says:

    I’m just waiting for the inevitable “why is the NFL shoving gay football players down our throats?” comments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. Facebones says:

    What’s interesting to me is that while older NFL executives are anonymously saying the league isn’t ready for this, actual NFL players, including the Super Bowl MVP, seem to be just fine with it.

    Anti-gay prejudice is a generational thing. People under 30 have grown up watching gay people on TV, know gay people, and have gay friends. It’s not the players who care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin: Yep, you got that right. Especially true in his case as Leonard Little fluctuated between 270 and 280 and Sam comes in at 255-260.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Sorry, I’m not sure if my sarcasm meter is working. Wikipedia informs me Little was only 237 pounds coming into the draft, and he seemed to work out fine? Sorry, I don’t know much about his career or if I’m missing something here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. bandit says:

    BFD

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. Moosebreath says:

    @Franklin:

    Passing along what someonepaid to rate college football players thinks:

    “Conclusion: Given the nature of Michael Sam’s story, he’ll be an important NFL individual if he makes it through an NFL training camp. Unfortunately, the nature of his play will leave a lot of teams wondering if he’s worth the trouble. That would be true if he was a first-round prospect, but for a guy whose tape shows early third-day talent, things are far more complex. Taking the narrative aside, I think Sam could be a reasonably effective player in a 4-3 defensive line rotation, or a run-side endbacker in a 3-4, if he improves his technique and finds a way to use more pure power on the field. The speed probably is what it is, and that’s a problem — because edge-rushers need more than the burst he currently has, and tweeners who move inside require far more ability to move people than he’s shown.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. CSK says:

    The scout who said the Patriots would be most accepting is probably correct. What will matter to them is if he’s good. There will probably be a few slings and arrows from a few fans, but if Belichick wants him, he’ll get him, if Sam likes the deal offered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Pete S says:

    He is not the first gay player in the NFL (if he makes it), only the first publicly out gay player. At the very least the Ravens and 49ers have had gay players in the past whose team mates knew, even though they were not publicly out.
    He may very well not get drafted now. After all, the good organizations will recognize that he has fallen off some draft boards and if interested they can wait and use a later pick or even sign him as an undrafted free agent. I would think his best bet is to try to put on some weight between now and the draft and have a good private workout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Ben says:

    @CSK:

    As a Pats fan, I’d be happy for them to give Sam a shot and see how he fits into their defense. And Robert Kraft already said in an interview today that he’d love to have Sam on the team, as long as he can play and help the team win.

    Plus, there is no coach on earth who’s better at telling the media to go fornicate with themselves if they try to make a circus out something. Look how well he handled Tebow, Hernandez, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Jr says:

    It is hard to find good pass-rushers, so if he can do that then I don’t see teams passing on him for being gay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Tyrell says:

    Character – attitude – physical abilities. That is all that should matter. Too many players with outstanding physical attributes (strength, speed, size, flexibility, endurance) end up in trouble, ineffective, and washouts. They must also avoid injuries – they must havs some luck. This man should be judged the same as anyone else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Buffalo Rude says:

    What never gets mentioned is that the supposed “baggage” is not Sam’s, its the other players and personnel on the team.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  33. CSK says:

    @Ben:

    Agreed. So far, the public reaction here seems to echo what Kraft said: “If he’s good, and he can help us win, who cares what his sexual preference is?”

    It speaks well of New England fans, in whose number I include myself, that this isn’t an issue for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  34. superdestroyer says:

    The real question is whether the team that eventually drafts Mr. Sam is prepared for the media circus that will occur during training camp first few games.

    There are several NFL analyst who say that no team is currently willing to draft Tim Tebow because of the media circus that comes with him even though we would only be a third string back up quarterback. The same thing will occur for whoever needs an outside pass rusher who can get to the quarterback but cannot cover a tight end/split end in pass coverage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Davebo says:

    @superdestroyer:

    There are several NFL analyst who say that no team is currently willing to draft Tim Tebow because of the media circus that comes with him even though we would only be a third string back up quarterback.

    Who are these analysts talking about how no team would draft a guy who has already been drafted?

    And few NFL teams carry a third string quarterback unless no.1 or 2 are on their way out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Tyrell says:

    @superdestroyer: “media circus” : exactly the problem If the media would stick to the game instead of a player’s private life. This is not the concern or business of the public. For some reason now it is getting to the point where people no longer have a private life. Many reporters try to stir things up, dig up some kind of malicious dirt and gossip, and try to get the latest “scoop”. Team owners and coaches should make it clear to reporters to keep it on the game, or leave.
    “It’s the game”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @Davebo:

    Should have written “sign” Tim Tebow would probably have a job as a third string quarterback if it was not for ESPN obsessing about his every play in practice.

    While watching ESPN at 06:00 PM, it was amazing that Sam took up 20 of the first 30 minutes. Being in NFL will make the circus bigger because if this was going to happen in the NBA or MLB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin: Sorry, been away. I don’t know what Little came in at, only what he played at (a pro bowl level) My point was that Sam could easily put on 15-20 pounds. Whether he will be as good at that weight is unknown. But then, nobody knows how good any one is going to be 2 years down the line when they get drafted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @Tyrell:

    The media has mixed personal life and sporting life since the 1970′s when ABC came up with its Upclose and Personal segments when ABC decided that casual fans (and espeicallly women) would watch more if they were invested in an athlete. It has just gotten worse since then.

    What is more interesting is that Sam is the 7th of 8 children and three of his siblings are dead and two are in prison and that he weighed only 222 lbs coming out of high school.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell:

    Team owners and coaches should make it clear to reporters to keep it on the game, or leave.

    Wasn’t so hard for Mizzou to do it….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer: Can’t disagree with any of that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. MarkedMan says:

    I think this just reinforces what the Congress-critter recently said (too lazy to look it up): Why the heck do we have a special law to give the NFL tax exemption? In what universe does that make sense? What we have here is not just some neanderthal organization (ala The Masters golf tournament) but such an organization that is taking money from our pockets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    What is also interesting is that Mr. Sam is a fifth year senior and either has graduated or will graduated this spring. According to the media guide posted his degree is in parks, recreation, and tourism and he has gained 30 pounds of weight since high school. That is probably why so many offensive and defensive linemen take a redshirt year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Matt Bernius says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The media has mixed personal life and sporting life since the 1970′s when ABC came up with its Upclose and Personal segments when ABC decided that casual fans (and espeicallly women) would watch more if they were invested in an athlete.

    It’s been going on long before the 1970′s. For time immemorial elite athletes have always been celebrities. And the personal lives of celebrities have always been of interest to the public.

    Of course, the “public” personal lives of celebrities have also always been managed for time immemorial as well. And they have also been tied up in the politics of their time as well.

    To your point SD, what happened in the US during the 70′s, thanks in part to things like the Upclose and Personal segments, was that there was a sense of greater access to the personal lives of sports figures. But, following McLuhan and others, the fact is that this was true for all celebrities, in part because TV invited this sort of spectacle. For example, the Carter White House was the subject of similar types of specials intent on demonstrating that, behind closed doors, the President was just like the rest of us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. anjin-san says:

    Maybe the Niners will draft him, if he can play and he is a decent person, he will be welcomed here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Tyrell says:

    I am not sure the Niners would take him. They need some receivers and a backup at qb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Good fair read by Bernie Miklasz of the STL Post Dispatch: Bernie: Where will Sam go in the draft? Money quote:

    “The “distraction” worries are humorous to me. NFL teams have welcomed dog killers, druggies, players with criminal backgrounds, players that have publicly spewed racist bile, players that have fathered multiple children out of wedlock with multiple women, players convicted of DUI (and vehicle manslaughter) and at least one player that currently stands charged with first-degree murder. If you can play, and help rack up the victories, the NFL has a spot for you. And gay players have been on NFL rosters all along. Check out the excellent “A Football Life” on the late Washington Redskins tight end Jerry Smith, which airs on the NFL Network.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  48. Rick Almeida says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Should have written “sign” Tim Tebow would probably have a job as a third string quarterback if it was not for ESPN obsessing about his every play in practice.

    If Tim Tebow could play, he would have a job. It’s funny to criticize an “obsession” about his play…because that’s probably the only legitimate thing for the sports media to “obsess” about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  49. anjin-san says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Tebow worked pretty hard to get attention. Are you really whining because he got it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  50. Distractions? The Pats suffered Tebow and Hernandez in 2013 and they made it to the divisional playoffs. A team chooses to be professional or it will show on the field, regardless of who is playing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “The real question is whether the team that eventually drafts Mr. Sam is prepared for the media circus that will occur during training camp first few games.”

    Yes, because we all know that the one thing the NFL hates is publicity. That’s why they played the entire Superbowl in secret without any press around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  52. wr says:

    @anjin-san: “Tebow worked pretty hard to get attention. Are you really whining because he got it?”

    Tebow kept getting hired because the Tea Party Jesus Freaks adopted him as their pet — apparently since Christians are such a terribly oppressed minority in this country, anyone who would credit Jeebus for his few wins deserved their fandom. Team owners figured that kind of following would bring them money. But Tebow wasn’t all that good, and he dragged his teams down. And, I suspect much to the owners’ surprise, the TeaTards were just as happy to see Tebow cut — because the only thing they like more than a patriotic hero to salute is a reason to complain that they’re victims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  53. anjin-san says:

    @ Tyrell

    The Niners receivers are arguably the best in football. What they need is to get Kaepernick and Steve Young together for a lot of coaching so that Kap can learn to properly exploit them.

    He has gone as far as he is going to using only his considerable sheer talent, now he has to lean to be a complete NFL quarterback. I believe he can do it, in addition to being very talented, he is also very bright. I think Young is the perfect guy to mentor him, not sure why this has not already happened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Ben says:

    Stewart killed it last night. Watch the last 30 seconds if nothing else:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-10-2014/friday-night-rights

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  55. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    Jacksonville who needed to put people in the seats took a pass on Tebow because they did not want the media circus that comes with it.

    The team that drafts Sam is going to have with ESPN reporting live from their training camp everyday and having a third or fourth draft pick getting a lot more attention than their first round pick. They are also going to have the non-sports medai obsessing abou their team and everything that they do. The circus will probably last less than a season will probably have a negative impact.

    Everyone needs to look at the negative impact virtually every team have had when they appear on Hard Knocks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_Knocks_(TV_series)#2011 and that is a minor program. The media presence that will occur in the training camp of whatever team drafts Sam will be an order of magnitude loose.

    Also, if the team that drafts Sam has a bad/underperforming season, the coach and management will be in trouble no matter how they manage the situation. Why does any team want to put everyone else’s careers on the line for a third or fourth round draft pick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Rick Almeida says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Jacksonville who needed to put people in the seats took a pass on Tebow because they did not want the media circus that comes with it.

    Objection, asserted without evidence.

    Alternate hypothesis: their personnel department knows he doesn’t have an NFL skillset, just like the other 31 teams.

    As Bill Nye said to Ken Ham, “What would convince you to change your mind?”

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  57. anjin-san says:

    Jacksonville who needed to put people in the seats took a pass on Tebow because they did not want the media circus that comes with it.

    Because how could all that extra attention from the media possibly put more people in the seats?

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  58. Andre Kenji says:

    I kinda like Tebow(He even voted for Obama), he is the sympathy reincarnated, in a sport where lots of people are giant d*, but the fact is that religious posturing is not welcome in professional sports. In soccer, FIFA explicitly banned this kind of commemoration of goal, for instance:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_X1JNk0DCEPQ/S068ufgQa5I/AAAAAAAAAI4/Hy55WAVW5Nw/s320/kaka_i_belong_to_jesus%5B1%5D.jpg

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/__6DhSS–nhI/TBE-kZYWLuI/AAAAAAAACHI/M3siCZmaB8U/s1600/kaka.png

    Besides that, the NFL is the crappiest career possible. It´s very difficult to keep a career there. And I think that his career as motivational speaker is a better choice for him than destroying his brain on the NFL.

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  59. superdestroyer says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    From http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1864800-tim-tebow-not-the-answer-for-jacksonville-jaguars-despite-urges-from-fans

    The rallies and silly ads such as Arnette’s are exactly why NFL teams don’t bother with Tebow. In an NFL where every move is magnified, cross-examined and dissected to unreasonable lengths, the last thing an NFL team wants to do is bring on Tebow and the media circus.

    How many other cites do you want me to find?

    Rereading the logic above, it seems apparent that the consencus is that Mr. Sam will go great on a winning team where winning overcomes most distractions.

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