Michael Sam: First Openly Gay NFL Prospect

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By Maceo Lester 

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first person of color to participate in a major league sports event. Robinson was clearly breaking a huge barrier as America was still home to segregated schools and public areas. Entering “America’s Game” as an African-American was truly going against the grain.

America in 2014 is a much different place; the “melting-pot” consists of several different races of people who are more socially accepted, including homosexuals.

But there’s something missing; that barrier-breaker who can catapult homosexuals to being accepted on a higher platform. Last week that person arrived. On February 9th, former Missouri Tigers defensive end, Michael Sam, told ESPN and The New York Times that he is gay. Sam’s announcement launched mixed responses via social media. Sam gained many supporters around the sports world, on the contrary, others aren’t so sure of how to react to a homosexual teammate or opponent.  Locker room situations can be made uncomfortable, “how am I supposed to respond,” Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints expressed his concerns of homosexuals in football prior to Sam’s announcement.

As Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB years ago, he was forced to endure hatred and racial slurs from fans, opponents, and even his own teammates. Sam should expect much of the same. The NFL is the epitome of a “macho-man” sport, and many may believe that homosexuals don’t belong. But in the year 2014, society is slowly but surely changing. Same-sex marriages are becoming legal in more states and it is clearly evident that some American citizens are more lenient towards people’s sexual preference. 

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