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 Post subject: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:53 pm 
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How will news that Michael Sam is gay affect his NFL draft stock?
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By Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans

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Michael Sam
Missouri's Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, recorded a league-best 11.5 sacks in '13.
Matthew Visinsky/Icon SMI
Sam Comes Out
SI Writers
WERTHEIM: Michael Sam says he is gay
WERTHEIM: Q&A with Sam on his decision
MANDEL: Sam breaks longstanding barrier
STAPLES: Sam was unstoppable SEC force
KING: Is NFL ready for openly gay player?
BISHOP: The SoCo Club celebrates Sam
NIESEN: Mizzou embraces announcement
BISHOP/THAMEL: Ex-NFL players react
THAMEL/EVANS: NFL draft stock impact?
SI VideoSam says he is gay ahead of NFL draft

The news that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam is gay holds significant social and cultural ramifications. But from a purely football perspective, his decision to come out prior to May's NFL draft will make his path to the league daunting, eight NFL executives and coaches told SI.com.
In blunt terms, they project a significant drop in Sam's draft stock, a publicity circus and an NFL locker room culture not prepared to deal with an openly gay player. Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was projected as a mid- to late-round draft pick prior to his announcement.
While none of the executives overtly condemned Sam's decision, their opinions illuminated an NFL culture in which an openly gay player -- from the draft room to the locker room -- faces long odds and a lonely path.
The executives and coaches were granted anonymity by SI.com for their honesty. Their answers were consistently unsparing.
"I don't think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet," said an NFL player personnel assistant. "In the coming decade or two, it's going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it's still a man's-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It'd chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room."
All the NFL personnel members interviewed believed that Sam's announcement will cause him to drop in the draft. He was projected between the third and seventh rounds prior to the announcement. The question is: How far will he fall?
"I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down," said a veteran NFL scout. "There's no question about it. It's human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote 'break that barrier?'"
WERTHEIM: Michael Sam, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, says he is gay
Before his announcement, Sam had already emerged as a divisive prospect. Some look at his SEC-best 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss and see a high-motor pass rusher who could go as high as the third round. Others see Sam, who is 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, as an undersized defensive end without a true position in the NFL. Of his 11.5 sacks, nine came in three games against what one scout called "garbage competition" -- Vanderbilt, Arkansas State and Florida. "His numbers are inflated," a scout said. "You've got to see through that."
One former NFL general manager described how Sam's future could play out in the draft room. He said when a team is nine slots away from making a pick, there is typically a declaration in the draft room that six players are being considered. When a team is five spots away, that consideration set is whittled to three.
If Sam is among that group of players, the potential distraction of his presence -- both in the media and the locker room -- could prevent him from being selected.
"That will break a tie against that player," the former general manager said. "Every time. Unless he's Superman. Why? Not that they're against gay people. It's more that some players are going to look at you upside down. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in the media is going to show up, from Good Housekeeping to the Today show. A general manager is going to ask, 'Why are we going to do that to ourselves?'"
The former general manager said that it would take an NFL franchise with a strong owner, savvy general manager and veteran coach to make drafting Sam work. He rattled off franchises like Pittsburgh, Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore and Indianapolis as potential destinations. The former general manager added that a team with a rookie head coach would not be an ideal landing spot.
Sam's announcement did not come as a surprise to most NFL teams. Sam's sexual orientation was considered an open secret in his college town of Columbia, Mo., and the assistant personnel man said he believed "90 percent of teams" were already aware that Sam was gay and had dropped him on their draft boards. He estimated that of the 32 NFL franchises, only two or three didn't know prior to Sunday night's news. He projected that it will impact Sam's draft status "quite a bit."
"You're going to have to have one confident general manager or head coach that is certainly entrenched in his position and established to draft a player like that," the assistant personnel director said. "It's one thing to have Chris Kluwe or Brendon Ayanbadejo, advocates for gay rights, on your team. It's another to have a current confirmed player."
Multiple NFL executives questioned Sam's decision to come out now, as he will be the biggest story in football between now and the NFL draft on May 8. The NFL combine from Feb. 22-25 could turn into a four-day referendum on Sam's professional future. And his place in the NFL draft will be endlessly debated between now and May.
An NFL assistant coach called Sam's decision "not a smart move," as he said it "legitimately affects [his] potential earnings." It wasn't lost on the NFL executives that former NBA player Jason Collins, who came out last April in a Sports Illustrated story, hasn't been signed by an NBA team this year.
"You shouldn't have to live your life in secrecy," the assistant coach said, "but do you really want to be the top of the conversation for everything without ever having played a down in this league?"
The assistant coach said that the decision to draft Sam will ultimately rest on a franchise's level of comfort in possibly disrupting the dynamic of the locker room.
"There are guys in locker rooms that maturity-wise cannot handle it or deal with the thought of that," the assistant coach said. "There's nothing more sensitive than the heartbeat of the locker room. If you knowingly bring someone in there with that sexual orientation, how are the other guys going to deal with it? It's going to be a big distraction. That's the reality. It shouldn't be, but it will be."


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:18 am 
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It wasn't much of a secret that he was gay, so his formal coming out was no new news to NFL decision makers. Perhaps a few teams will stay away due to wanting to avoid media distractions. I personally think he'll go in the 4th round, due to being a bit undersized. I don't think this will help him or hurt him nearly as much as allot of people think.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:09 am 
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There's a fine line there. While I'm supportive of gay rights, I also realize that having a media circus does not mesh with winning football games. Sam is going to have to leave his sexual orientation at home, and just deal with being in an NFL locker room that might be hostile to his situation. He's going to need to be humble and simply accept the garbage that's likely to be thrown at him. Should he have to endure that? Hell no. But if he wants to change the league, that's what he's going to have to do.

Jackie Robinson should be his role model. I suspect that what Sam will have to endure won't compare to what Robinson had to endure, but the best way to earn respect is through deeds, not words. If he goes out and plays football, and doesn't get on a soapbox, he will be more likely to win the respect of his team mates, and then, the rest of the league. That, will make it easier for others to follow suit.

http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016431.html


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:20 am 
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I guess the cat is out of the bag, but he would have been better off staying in the closet till he was an established player.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:41 pm 
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http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10468 ... ion-matter

86 percent OK with gay teammate
Updated: February 17, 2014, 12:29 PM ET
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
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NFL Players Would Accept Gay Teammate

Mark Brunell reacts to ESPN.com's NFL Nation and ESPN The Magazine's anonymous survey of NFL players, which asked four true-false questions about their thoughts on having a gay teammate. Brunell also discusses the biggest challenge facing Michael Sam.
Tags: Michael Sam, NFL, Gay Player, SportsCenter, Mark Brunell, Poll, Survey, Sexual Orientation
NEXT VIDEO video
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If Missouri defensive end Michael Sam is drafted in May and becomes the NFL's first openly gay player, he'll walk into a league that seems to be moving closer to acceptance but is still dealing with growing pains as it does so.

Survey of NFL Players
ESPN.com's NFL Nation and ESPN The Magazine asked players, on the condition of anonymity, four true-false questions about their thoughts on having a gay teammate. Here are the results:

• A player's sexual orientation matters to you.
» True: 7
» False: 44
• I had teammates or coaches who used homophobic slurs last season.
» True: 32
» False: 19
• I would shower around a gay teammate.
» True: 39
» False: 12
• An openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room.
» True: 25
» False: 21
» No answer: 5
ESPN.com's NFL Nation and ESPN The Magazine combined on an anonymous survey last week off the news of Sam coming out as the first openly gay NFL prospect. Fifty-one players, almost an entire team roster, responded to four true-false questions. Although the survey showed that most players aren't concerned with another's sexual orientation, it also made clear the concerns that players would have with learning how to relate to an openly gay teammate.

Forty-four players said a teammate's sexual orientation didn't matter to them, and 39 said they would be comfortable showering around a gay teammate. But 32 players said they had teammates or coaches who used homophobic slurs last season, and when asked whether an openly gay player would be comfortable in a NFL locker room, just 25 players said yes; 21 said no, while five declined to answer.

One concern for players appeared to be learning how they could relate to a teammate they knew was gay and whether they would need to behave any differently around him.

According to one starting receiver, "Whoever takes [Sam in the draft] should have an open talk at the beginning of camp, where everybody can ask what he's comfortable with, what offends him, what boundaries there should be. When it comes to race, people already know the boundaries, to a certain extent. But I don't think football players are overly familiar with what can and can't be said around a gay person."

Sam, who announced he is gay in a Feb. 9 interview with ESPN's "Outside the Lines," said his Missouri teammates rallied around him last season after he revealed his sexual orientation to them.

"I'm telling you what: I wouldn't have the strength to do this today if I didn't know how much support they'd given me this past semester," he said in the interview.

But one NFL starting tight end, who believes Sam will encounter some difficulties in the league, said, "There is a little more of a family environment in college. It was more like having brothers. In the NFL, you have friends, but it's a more work-oriented environment. I hope guys can be professional and respect who he is and leave his personal life out of it."

Sam, who was co-SEC defensive player of the year last season, is expected to be drafted between the third and fifth rounds in May. He had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2013, leading the SEC in both categories.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Some locker rooms will be better equipped to handle Sam than others. And by handle, I mean the intense media scrutiny that will no doubt accompany Sam this season.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:46 pm 
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If I were the coach of the team that drafted him, I'd tell the media to stay the heck out. I'd keep them out of the locker room, and limit their involvement in day to day activities. Whatever locker room it is, is going to need some time to figure itself out.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:33 pm 
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It really is only going to be an issue at that first mini-camp. By the time training camp rolls around, there isn't going to be much to talk about that.

The only real issue is going to come after that point if one of his teammates or an opposing player says something stupid. But really once August hits, he's not going to be viewed as anything more than just 1 of 53 guys. Thereafter, chief concerns will be football-related (i.e. making the team and producing, which is the case for all 1800+ NFL players).

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:51 pm 
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I agree. I guess for the purpose of training camp, I'd pull Sam aside and tell him, "You're here to play football. I want you to focus on that. Don't talk to the fans or the media about, "the other thing." Focus on football. Once you've established yourself, you can be a role model. For now, you have to make the team, and any distractions could hurt that."


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:39 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
I agree. I guess for the purpose of training camp, I'd pull Sam aside and tell him, "You're here to play football. I want you to focus on that. Don't talk to the fans or the media about, "the other thing." Focus on football. Once you've established yourself, you can be a role model. For now, you have to make the team, and any distractions could hurt that."

Everything I've heard about Sam says that convo is unnecessary because he gets it.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:06 pm 
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Sam just had a disaster at the combine today, ran slow and was almost last on the bench press. He's now a 5th or 6th rounder imho.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Michael Sam's stock will fall by coming out closet
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:33 pm 
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Quote:
Sam just had a disaster at the combine today, ran slow and was almost last on the bench press. He's now a 5th or 6th rounder imho.


I think that Sam will actually be helped by being gay. There is some GM or Owner out there that wants to be the first guy to draft a gay guy. If he is a 5th/6th round talent, I bet he goes in the 3rd/early 4th.

With all of the media's love and acceptance of gay, whoever drafts him will immediately get all kinds of positive support from the media. Even fans will join in the "we have to support the gay guy" that they will buy merchandise and seats. By the time pre-season rolls around, the hupla will somewhat fade (with a little spike because we want to see if he can play) that it will likely be a non event. Unless for some reason he is a bubble player that gets cut...then Katie bar the door!!!


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