Sam defined by sexuality

When you hear the name Michael Sam what is the first thing that comes to mind?  That he played at the University of Missouri? That he dominated the toughest division in the country on his way to becoming an All-American, and the Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season? Or possibly for many in our immediate area that he now is fighting for a job with the home state St. Louis Rams.

No, probably not. The first thing that comes to mind is that he is homosexual. A fact that can be uncomfortable for some and nearly irrelevant for others, but nonetheless homosexuality continues to be the headline.

For Sam it must be a tiring constant, one that as he fights tooth and nail on and off the field after repetitive explanations to the people closest to him throughout his life.

Gay, the first word used to describe a player striving for greatness. Not determined or playmaker, but gay. Still, with that connotation comes support in this day and age as our society moves further toward true equality.

Shown by the fact that his jersey sells, without him being guaranteed a roster spot, remaining a constant in the top ten in a position that puts Sam’s jersey sales ahead of elite names such as Brady, Brees and Rodgers, some of the highest profile NFL names.

Yet, in the face of a spotlight that in any other scenario would be burning a hole in the back of a number 90 Texans jersey, Sam continues to impress. Showing us the ultimate example of letting actions speak louder than words, because without action in this scenario we would not hear a peep from him. The only statement heard from this horses mouth is that he wants to play football.

Thus far, Sam has accounted for three sacks and five total tackles as well as two quarterback pressures and a quarterback hit that the Rams have credited him with. A total that has many pundits contemplating whether or not that will push him to the promise land, but as the final roster cuts loom on the horizon the topic of debate once again goes back to sexual orientation, with the most recent report on the matter involving his showering habits rather than on field performance.

Sadly, for Sam, the story of his football life will begin and end with that same connotation.  One that involves a closet door slung open as he performs his panted post-sack celebration. A celebration that Johnny Football, his only comparable rookie counterpart in the top ten of jersey sales, will not soon forget.

In the end what Sam has truly done is push our society to another level of acceptance. Spearheading a movement for his community into the most testosterone-ridden sport of them all. A process that will soon come to a head as the final roster cuts are just around the corner, then we will see once again how Sam is accepted.