clauderainsrm (clauderainsrm) wrote in therealljidol,
clauderainsrm
clauderainsrm
therealljidol

The Countdown - 6

I've been thinking about Michael Sam.

Because football is one of the internet's favorite things (being the extension of 80's teen movies), I'm sure everyone knows who I am talking about. If not, then you probably know him as "the first openly gay man in the NFL draft".

One of the things that I like about him is that after his statement, he's tried directing attention back to "how (he) plays". Because who he is attracted to really isn't a factor in how he will do on the field. Which is sort of the point of him coming out, to challenge an outdated stereotype and maybe give a few more players the courage to be who they actually are in a public forum.

The danger, of course, is that he will end up being another Tim Tebow. A guy who was a good college quarterback, but people hyped because of his being a conservative Christian. He did OK in the NFL, but he just wasn't starting quarterback material, and ended up being more trouble than he was worth... like many star college athletes who can't make the cut, he is now out of the NFL.

Religious groups, and people who really don't know a lot about football cried foul, saying that it was because he spoke his mind, that he was being persecuted for who he was. The people who watched his games, knew that once the opposing teams had seen some tape on him, he really couldn't offer much and didn't seem interested in learning.

Which brings me back to Michael Sam. He's on the small side to play defense in the league. Can he? That is to be determined. Other guys "his size" (if you saw him walking down the street, you wouldn't think he was a "little guy", it's only on a defensive line where that comes up) have certainly been able to make their mark. He's going to be tested, and some team is going to need the faith in his ability to grow in their system. That means not being a starter right away, and learning the game from the veterans.

I'm hoping that "The Left" gives him time and encouragement to actually do that, rather than go down the Tebow path and follow the example set by "The Right". Where "who is he" matters more than what he does on the field.

***

Speaking of the NFL, because again, the internet loves it... there is a proposed rule change to make "uttering racial slurs on the field" a 15 yard "unsportsmanlike conduct".

This is obviously fallout from the hazing/bullying case within the Miami Dolphin organization that has received a great deal of attention.

One of the things that was said was that they "have microphones all over the field". Which, last time I checked, wasn't true. The referees have them, and during big games you can have a couple players in the helmets. Maybe field mikes can pick up some of the stuff... but when was the last time you heard what players were saying to each other when they lined up facing each other? If this going to be a "if the Ref hears it?" Is it going to be "if someone complains?"

As a fan of the game, and of humanity as a whole, I like that the issue of racism is being taken seriously.

But this feels like it's more for show than to actually deal with an actual situation. I predict that the first time this is used to nullify a big play, in a crucial part of a game, that there will be an explosion from sports fans - and instead of making progress in our interactions with each other, that there will be a backlash against "being PC".

Especially after the last couple of seasons the NFL referees have had with blown calls and controversial decisions, you would hope that no one would be putting *more* decision-making over penalties into their hands. Especially when it comes to such an important everyday issue.

I'm hoping that the NFL can figure out how to change the culture that needs to be changed without distracting from the actual sport.
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