Michael Sam is no worse an NFL prospect than Stansly Maponga, Lawrence Sidbury, or Cliff Matthews are. So the idea that he cannot get a job, and those other guys can, makes me think something is fishy...if it's just about whether he can play, and all the "other stuff" doesn't matter...
I don't think fun gus would even say Sam is great. But he's a competent, young
pass-rusher at a premium position.
The fact that he's struggling this hard to get a job, hints at the possibility that the other factors are creeping in. Don't people remember Stansly Maponga last summer? He didn't absolutely squadoosh. But he showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 (as Sidbury & Matthews also did) and has now grown into a competent NFL backup. The same should be expected
There was a player for Oakland last summer by the name of David Bass. 7th round pick out of Missouri Western State, had a decent preseason (, flashed a couple of times. His PFF grades and production were nearly identical to Sam's this past summer. Certainly played well enough to make the Raiders roster. But the Raiders cut him, and he was instantly picked up by the Chicago Bears. Finished the year and had 1 sack with the Bears and made the team again this year. Why did the Bears scoop him up? Because they recognized ability and his potential. They put him on their roster
and didn't bat an eye.
And yet Sam struggles to get a shot at the practice squad?
He is no Jackie Robinson but there were players on Jackie's teams and in the org that did not want him either...not because they were bigots but because they did not want the circus.
Well, if a guy hits .297, then you better be willing to deal with the circus. Athletes generally only care about winning and whether or not a guy can play. And I would say if guys didn't want Jackie Robinson on their team it was because either: A) They were bigoted or B) Didn't think he could play, which probably was rooted in bigotry
or at the very least sheer ignorance of how great the players in the Negro Leagues were, so it's hard to justify someone's aversion to a player like Robinson as not being directly related to race.
what is funny to me is that people cannot accept that there will always be such people and there always have been and they still manage to work or live along side people whose lifestyle or whatever they don't approve of or like. There are guys in every little Podunk town out there that everyone knows are gay and they are often quite successful. Do people embrace or champion their lifestyle? No. Do they tolerate it? Yes.
The difference being that those people
are working/living alongside
homosexuals, and don't have control on whether those homosexuals have a job. I'm sure if those people
were in positions of power, there would be a lot less tolerance.
The issue isn't with the peripheral folks, it's with the people in power. It's the 32 GMs, 32 owners and 32 head coaches that are charged with making these types of decisions: the Trent Lotts of the NFL world. And if just 5 of them have "issues" now there's a 15% less chance that Sam finds a job because of something that is out of his control. And given that most of those people in power are of a demographic more similar to Trent Lott, then it's probably a safe assumption that it's a lot more than 5 that have "issues."
Again, Sam is a young pass-rusher. He's going to get better. This isn't like Tebow in the sense where Tebow had been in the league for 4 years and not shown any substantial improvement as a passer. Tebow may "win games" but if he was asked to throw an 8-yard quick out 100 times, it would likely wind up in 100 different places because of his scattershot accuracy. That's not good for a quarterback and thus a coach has a much more legitimate excuse for "avoiding the circus." There is nothing wrong with Sam's game that is anymore wrong with guys like Maponga or Bass or any other late-round/undrafted caliber rookie.
Now all that being said, if I was in the Falcons shoes, I probably would not sign him
just because he's not much of a scheme fit. There are better options that are available to you that are a bit more comfortable dropping/playing in space as you want in a 3-4 OLB and the simply reality is that there's a 95% chance the Falcons are going to take a Khalil Mack/Dee Ford-esque player at the top of next year's draft, so Sam would again be marginalized next summer.
As for the "circus," that is/was vastly overrated. Nobody was talking about Michael Sam from June to August. And they only started talking about him in August again because he started making plays
. Had he had a ho-hum and non-descript summer with the Rams, then there wouldn't have been the weekly updates on ESPN and NFL Network highlighting his plays. And then again, if he's on your practice squad, how much of that distraction can he be? Clearly, the media may ask you about it, but at a certain point they will stop (probably after 1 week). It will only come up again if you have an injury and are forced to elevate him to your active roster. But again, how much of a distraction is it really to have a 5-minute segment of a 3rd string player on Total Access or SportsCenter once a week? How is that really going to fracture your locker room? People act like players are idiots, like they don't get what's going on. Is someone really going to be stewing about all the attention Michael Sam may or may not be getting, and then proceed to crap the bed on game days?
It's only as much as a distraction as a team allows it to be. Look at Tebow last summer. Didn't Belichick put the clamps on that pretty much right away? And we only talked about Tebow from that point on to discuss how terrible a player he was, right?