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Mizzou's Michael Sam comes out


McCall

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Here's the quote I was referencing from Outside the Lines:

"I endured so much in my past: seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound, not knowing that my oldest sister died when she was a baby and I never got the chance to meet her. My second oldest brother went missing in 1998, and me and my little sister were the last ones to see him ... my other two brothers have been in and out of jail since 8th grade, currently both in jail. "Telling the world I'm gay is nothing compared to that."

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I appreciated the irony in a world where everyone makes the claim that sexuality is no big deal and then every tag on the ticker for SportsCenter was about his sexuality. Yes, I know, it's a landmark issue, though you know the blue collar fans will snark it up if Green Bay or San Francisco drafts him.

Does everyone else notice the synchronicity of these social issues in the NFL? The Incognito issue, concussions and now this. Seems like a perfect storm is brewing.

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I guess my thought is, you don't have to come out, you just have to be. You post pictures of you and your partner on Facebook? Okay. You talk about your husband as a male the same way a female would? Great! The whole point of acceptance is to be treated the same way, yes? So why the need to advertise your sexual orientation like it is something different? Instead, just live your life like you are the contributing member of a society like you are.

Yeah, that would be nice.

Of course, we'd first need to live in a world where more than half the states don't have laws on their books prohibiting that very relationship. We'd have to build a country where people can't be fired just because they happen to be gay. A country where politicians aren't actively working to strip gay people of their rights. A country where political organizations aren't raising money by claiming gay people are lining up to rape children.

Once we get to the point where it really isn't a big deal if a person is gay, then we can start to say public figures should act as if it really isn't a big deal. Until then, it's both disingenuous and unfair to expect those gay public figures to pretend our country is already there.

When do you think that will be? Hasn't happened for women yet. Despite the right to vote, women still suffer from gender inequality across multiple facets of society. Hasn't happened for blacks yet. Despite the abolition of slavery and the civil rights act, minorities but especially blacks are still treated as second-class citizens, a lot of the time in those same states as you mention above as being oppressive to gay people. Hasn't happened for the mentally ill yet. Despite research showing treatment being more productive than incarceration, people still want to lock up those they deem as "crazy" and throw away the key.

And public figures do act like being gay isn't a big deal. Just because the sports world is a decade or two behind the rest of the country in terms of their thinking doesn't mean that, as a whole, the country thinks oppressively. Members of Congress/governors/mayors, business leaders, actors/actresses, etc., all in positions because of their talent, work ethic and desire.

Point is, no matter what, there will always be groups of people against any human characteristic. The messed up part is we are talking about characteristics that are innate to that person, a characteristic given through nature and not choice. Sure, one's sexual orientation may be the least visible of those mentioned, but what's the incentive to draw attention to it? It's great to be different; being unique is what makes us special. But we don't need to go down the line and find out why everyone is different.

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The messed up part is we are talking about characteristics that are innate to that person, a characteristic given through nature and not choice. Sure, one's sexual orientation may be the least visible of those mentioned, but what's the incentive to draw attention to it? It's great to be different; being unique is what makes us special. But we don't need to go down the line and find out why everyone is different.

I already said why: most groups aren't actively persecuted for what makes them "different" and "special".

We live in a world where more than half the states have laws on their books prohibiting marriage equality. In many states, people can be fired just because they happen to be gay. American politicians routinely and actively work to strip gay people of their rights every day, while political organizations raise money by repeating the odious lie that gay people are lining up to rape children. The world will never be perfect, but so long as any of that is happening there is a very good reason for public figures to come out.

It's been demonstrated that the most effective antidote to homophobia is people realizing how many gay people they know. Every out public figure helps destroy a stereotype and challenges the bigotry. No less so in sports - Jackie Robinson's career was a major step in the Civil Rights movement, because Americans who always thought of blacks as inferiors got to see how wrong they were. And more black players meant that the former bigots would even be cheering for them.

Besides, we straights come out as well, with nobody telling us to "keep it private". Did you object when Tom Brady put out a press release announcing his wedding to Gisele? That was his coming out, if he hadn't already. I came out to my colleagues the first day on the job, when I put a framed picture of my wife on my new desk. So what's the issue with Sam's announcement?

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Point is, no matter what, there will always be groups of people against any human characteristic. The messed up part is we are talking about characteristics that are innate to that person, a characteristic given through nature and not choice. Sure, one's sexual orientation may be the least visible of those mentioned, but what's the incentive to draw attention to it? It's great to be different; being unique is what makes us special. But we don't need to go down the line and find out why everyone is different.

No, but in a heteronormative world that includes reactions like this (and this, too), what shouldn't be a big deal still is. Remember the furor over Jackie Robinson? Seems silly now, doesn't it?

As I alluded to before, seeing role models that resemble themselves is also important for LGBT youth in oppressive situations that they're not alone in the world; that it isn't wrong for them to be themselves, and that they can succeed.

Again, I want to see the day where an NFL player having his husband listed in a bio the same way other players' mention their wives isn't even really noticed; but we're nowhere near that day. We certainly don't get closer to that day without moments like this.

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Maybe I'm being too optimistic about the state of our society, but I seriously can't see this hurting his draft stock. In fact, I think the recognition alone will be beneficial to his draft status.

Look at it this way, he was a projected 3-5 round draft pick as it was, and the casual observer (despite his on field success) probably had no idea who this guy was. Or in the very least, he wasn't a household name. How many times have we seen a guy drafted above his projected potential simply because he was relatively well known? It happens ALL the time. If anything, this was a brilliant move by Sam to come out now. He's getting a ton of great PR for a subject that's very touchy but awarded a basic protection, if not even praise, from a good chunk of popular society. Frankly, I think he just earned himself a few million dollars more by coming out when he did.

And more importantly, he apparently told his team mates back in August, and that secret kept for nearly SIX MONTHS. It's astonishing to me to hear that around 100 people knew of this, yet there wasn't even a hint of it until now. If that's true, that's pretty awesome. I don't know even a dozen people in their late teens and early twenties who could keep a secret of that magnitude for that long, and they don't constantly have cameras and reporters in their face.

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And more importantly, he apparently told his team mates back in August, and that secret kept for nearly SIX MONTHS. It's astonishing to me to hear that around 100 people knew of this, yet there wasn't even a hint of it until now. If that's true, that's pretty awesome. I don't know even a dozen people in their late teens and early twenties who could keep a secret of that magnitude for that long, and they don't constantly have cameras and reporters in their face.

Honestly, that's the biggest thing that's surprised me throughout this whole situation. A big-time player on an SEC football team came out as gay to his whole team in August. It's February and we're just now hearing about it. Not one of Sam's teammates ran to the media with what surely would've been a big story (or, alternatively, one did and the media didn't break it) which either speaks volumes about Sam, Sam's teammates, or the media (my money is on the first two).

Surely, at least one of Sam's 100+ teammates had preconceived opinions about gay people and/or gays in football. To me, the fact that none of them ran to the media with an "OMG I'M IN THE SEC AND I HAVE A GAY TEAMMATE" indicates that Sam is one hell of a teammate or that Mizzou football has a Lombardi-eqsue "no discrimination of any kind allowed" type of atmosphere. Either way, it's refreshing and I have a newfound respect for Mizzou football. I hope the guy gets drafted and gets a legitimate shot at playing in the NFL.

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And more importantly, he apparently told his team mates back in August, and that secret kept for nearly SIX MONTHS. It's astonishing to me to hear that around 100 people knew of this, yet there wasn't even a hint of it until now. If that's true, that's pretty awesome. I don't know even a dozen people in their late teens and early twenties who could keep a secret of that magnitude for that long, and they don't constantly have cameras and reporters in their face.

I was looking up Michael Sam pictures and the first suggestion when I typed in Michael Sam was "michael sam gay", and this was about 6 months ago.

Anyway, I think it's really cool that a guy could be so comfortable in his own skin. Good for him.

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When I was in college (2006-2010) I was in a fraternity and my junior year one of the guys in my class came out in front of the chapter at a chapter meeting. I wasn't surprised, but I was surprised that he could do it in front of all us. I thought that took some guts so I couldn't even imagine doing that in front of the entire country. 95% of the chapter was supportive (or kept their thoughts to themselves). The remaining 5% were noted di**heads and ended up falling by the wayside or they spoke with him and/or us and were properly educated. The next year a gay student rushed our fraternity and was welcomed with open arms (and by that I mean he was treated like :censored: just like everybody else), but I don't think it would've gone over half as well for him if Mike hadn't done it the year before.

I think younger people for the most part understand that it's not a character flaw, nor is it a choice, and that hiding your true self is a living hell.

I didn't know who Michael Sam was before this morning, but I'll be pulling for him in the draft and in his NFL career. I don't know what I'll do if he goes undrafted.

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How I meant it was that I don't judge a player based on his sexuality, whether for him or against him. It holds no factor. And I choose not to judge any other person by it either. Isn't that the goal? That's how I choose to do it now, not in the future. I really don't see him being gay as a big deal. If others do, that's up to them. I like him because he was an outstanding player from my favorite school who I would love to continue cheering for in the NFL on my favorite team if possible. I know he's a good person off the field and that's good enough for me. It only has the subtext because people, like illwauk apparently, still choose to see it that way rather than making sure of the intent first, which it seemed pretty clear from my post that it was not in a negative way.

It has the subtext because of things you've said here in the past regarding homosexuality. Am I to understand that your views have changed, and that you really don't have a problem with same-sex relationships?
When did I ever say otherwise? Or are you just assuming that since I'm a Conservative, that automatically means I'm against it?

Why so defensive.. and who said anything about your politics? I'm asking you straight up whether or not you have a problem with same sex relationships because I genuinely don't know.

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How I meant it was that I don't judge a player based on his sexuality, whether for him or against him. It holds no factor. And I choose not to judge any other person by it either. Isn't that the goal? That's how I choose to do it now, not in the future. I really don't see him being gay as a big deal. If others do, that's up to them. I like him because he was an outstanding player from my favorite school who I would love to continue cheering for in the NFL on my favorite team if possible. I know he's a good person off the field and that's good enough for me. It only has the subtext because people, like illwauk apparently, still choose to see it that way rather than making sure of the intent first, which it seemed pretty clear from my post that it was not in a negative way.

It has the subtext because of things you've said here in the past regarding homosexuality. Am I to understand that your views have changed, and that you really don't have a problem with same-sex relationships?
When did I ever say otherwise? Or are you just assuming that since I'm a Conservative, that automatically means I'm against it?

Why so defensive.. and who said anything about your politics? I'm asking you straight up whether or not you have a problem with same sex relationships because I genuinely don't know.
No you're not. It's pretty obvious that you already assumed I was against it, when I have never said I was. What you asked was if my views had changed, which insinuated that you believed I was against it beforehand. So why am I defensive? Because you're creating a false, negative subtext of my comments based on my views that you clearly thought you knew but actually didn't. When Gothamite commented on the subject of subtext, he didn't assume my intent like you did. He spoke objectively.
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The messed up part is we are talking about characteristics that are innate to that person, a characteristic given through nature and not choice. Sure, one's sexual orientation may be the least visible of those mentioned, but what's the incentive to draw attention to it? It's great to be different; being unique is what makes us special. But we don't need to go down the line and find out why everyone is different.

I already said why: most groups aren't actively persecuted for what makes them "different" and "special".

We live in a world where more than half the states have laws on their books prohibiting marriage equality. In many states, people can be fired just because they happen to be gay. American politicians routinely and actively work to strip gay people of their rights every day, while political organizations raise money by repeating the odious lie that gay people are lining up to rape children. The world will never be perfect, but so long as any of that is happening there is a very good reason for public figures to come out.

It's been demonstrated that the most effective antidote to homophobia is people realizing how many gay people they know. Every out public figure helps destroy a stereotype and challenges the bigotry. No less so in sports - Jackie Robinson's career was a major step in the Civil Rights movement, because Americans who always thought of blacks as inferiors got to see how wrong they were. And more black players meant that the former bigots would even be cheering for them.

Besides, we straights come out as well, with nobody telling us to "keep it private". Did you object when Tom Brady put out a press release announcing his wedding to Gisele? That was his coming out, if he hadn't already. I came out to my colleagues the first day on the job, when I put a framed picture of my wife on my new desk. So what's the issue with Sam's announcement?

Bolded: Seriously? Now, I'm sure you can say that crimes may go under-reported due to the nature of them but even still, you can't tell me that these hate crime statistics from the FBI for 2012 don't show that racism is still prevalent:

  • Single-bias incidents

    Analysis of the 5,790 single-bias incidents reported in 2012 revealed that:

    • 48.3 percent were racially motivated.
    • 19.6 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
    • 19.0 percent were motivated by religious bias.
    • 11.5 percent stemmed from ethnicity/national origin bias.
    • 1.6 percent were prompted by disability bias.
  • Offenses by bias motivation within incidents

    Of the 6,705 single-bias hate crime offenses reported in the above incidents:

    • 49.2 percent stemmed from racial bias.
    • 19.7 percent were motivated by sexual-orientation bias.
    • 17.4 percent resulted from religious bias.
    • 12.3 percent were prompted by ethnicity/national origin bias.
    • 1.5 percent resulted from biases against disabilities.

As to your last point, putting a picture of your wife on your desk at your new job is a normal act. So would putting a picture of your husband on your desk. You don't need to highlight the fact that you are gay, you are gay. I'm not saying hide, I'm not saying feel shame, I'm just saying live your life.You'd be amazed how little people care about stuff when you don't actually bring their attention to it. And even if they do care, :censored: them. Just like it wasn't up to the rest of the Missouri team to choose to accept him or not, what do you care if Steve from accounting thinks it's wrong to have that picture on your desk?

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NFL reporters crowd around a podium and the player behind it, as there has been a press conference called. He has an announcement. Rumours have swirled around for days, and he's supposedly about to come out. The elephant in the room, obviously, is that this could greatly impact his playing career. What would it be like, changing with him? Surely he would become a distraction. Fans would remember him for his sexuality, not his play. If he does come out, he will be forever known as the straight athlete.

Crazy, right? The point is, there will never be LGBT equality until there is no coming out. No assumption, no question, no care. If someone is found out to be gay, it should be by the same means as a straight person. That's what equality is. I understand that with the past, that the word hard is putting it mildly, as far as the challenges we face trying to make this reality, but we need to stop pushing for an openly gay athlete. Don't force them into coming out. The only media they should have to face is the same type of media a straight guy would face when he starts seeing a new girl.

I'm a straight guy, so I don't know what homosexual people are dealing with, but when I flip the tables and think of things as if they were in the first paragraph, I understand a bit better. They shouldn't be showered with attention because of what sex they like. That's inequality.

Another thing. I'm in grade nine, and another guy in a couple of my classes is a big homophobe. He doesn't hate on them directly, but he'll talk about bringing his shotgun to school and shooting them all up. So, not just homophobic, but psychopathic, in my opinion whether he's joking or not(he probably is, but mass murder of a race, sexuality or gender isn't a laughing matter).

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NFL reporters crowd around a podium and the player behind it, as there has been a press conference called. He has an announcement. Rumours have swirled around for days, and he's supposedly about to come out. The elephant in the room, obviously, is that this could greatly impact his playing career. What would it be like, changing with him? Surely he would become a distraction. Fans would remember him for his sexuality, not his play. If he does come out, he will be forever known as the straight athlete.

Crazy, right? The point is, there will never be LGBT equality until there is no coming out. No assumption, no question, no care. If someone is found out to be gay, it should be by the same means as a straight person. That's what equality is. I understand that with the past, that the word hard is putting it mildly, as far as the challenges we face trying to make this reality, but we need to stop pushing for an openly gay athlete. Don't force them into coming out. The only media they should have to face is the same type of media a straight guy would face when he starts seeing a new girl.

I'm a straight guy, so I don't know what homosexual people are dealing with, but when I flip the tables and think of things as if they were in the first paragraph, I understand a bit better. They shouldn't be showered with attention because of what sex they like. That's inequality.

Bigotry, homophobia, bullying, that's what they deal with. For someone to come out and accept all that will be coming, from the religious nuts to the political opportunistic, should be commended.

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Another thing. I'm in grade nine, and another guy in a couple of my classes is a big homophobe. He doesn't hate on them directly, but he'll talk about bringing his shotgun to school and shooting them all up. So, not just homophobic, but psychopathic, in my opinion whether he's joking or not(he probably is, but mass murder of a race, sexuality or gender isn't a laughing matter).

That needs to be reported to the police ASAP. Even if he never follows through on that specific threat, the guy's a hate crime waiting to happen. It's one thing to say "I oppose gay marriage because of this reason." It's another thing to talk about killing them for no reason other than who they are.

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