By Justin Kollar
Just a few weeks ago a seemingly unknown All American defensive lineman from Missouri turned the media world upside down. Michael Sam publicly said “I am an openly, proud gay man.” Now the entire world knows this man’s name.
Sam, eligible for the NFL draft this upcoming May, could be the very first openly gay player in the league. After releasing his statement, Sam left many wondering if the NFL or U.S. could handle a gay player.
Sam’s statement raised many eyebrows and concerns from the sports fan watching the game on Sunday to lobbyists in Washington. Jack Burkman, head of the Burkman Associates lobbying firm responded to Sam’s statement saying, “We are losing our decency as a nation, that’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”
What has this nation come to? Statements like the following are what create stereotypes, assuming that all gay people would take the innocence away from every mother’s child. This is simply an ignorant statement that received too much attention.
Taking the question of gay football players back to home, Olivet Nazarene’s own Coach Brian Fish would not touch the question of “having an openly gay player on his team.” Coach Fish said, “Enough people get themselves into trouble with questions like this. I’m not gonna get into this.”
Perhaps this is an issue of a new generation and the values the Millennials hold as opposed to the older, more conservative Baby Boomers.
Olivet’s Scout Team Defensive Player of the Year, Lucas Hughes approached this daunting question, saying. “As a leader I wouldn’t see a gay player any differently than I would see a straight player. He is still the same person. He is still an athlete. And at the end of the day, still my teammate. As a leader, you cannot judge someone based on how they feel, what they are comfortable with. We’re all unique.”
The truth is, in such a hateful world, some would rather die than be comfortable with themselves. The issue of stereotyping has never gone away; it keeps rearing its ugly head out of the past donning a new face each year. It is observed in concentration camps to marches on Washington and to Michael Sam being an “openly, proud gay man.” There will be no freedom among us until we are all equal.