Open athlete tackles door to social progress

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University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam recently announced he’s gay, potentially making him the first current openly gay NFL athlete.

And all I can say is, “Finally!”

Finally, the NFL will have its first openly gay competitor still currently playing, which would be a huge step for the league.

Of course, this is only valid if he’s drafted. However, Sam absolutely will be. Not only because he is an All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, but also because there are teams who want the publicity.

If Tim Tebow can continually get hired with virtually no quarterback skills, so can someone actually qualified for his position. And, just like signing Tebow guarantees a lovely boost of Christian fans, acquiring Sam garners his supporters as well.

As long as Sam becomes the first openly-gay NFL athlete this September, I can’t complain. Unless he goes to the Miami Dolphins and becomes submerged in their bullying mess. That would be an avalanche of media attention that would break the Internet.

Like most professional sports, the NFL contains countless homophobic athletes. If the players have this much trouble with the “N-word” (i.e. Riley Cooper and Richard Incognito), then I can’t imagine the struggle they face with the real “F-word.”

Of course, we can’t really blame them for that. It’s not their fault they get hit in the head for a living – it’s their parents’.

However, I’m excited by Sam’s emergence, for I hope his hiring will lead to the rise of the first gay superstar athlete. Sure, Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers are gay professional athletes, and I applaud their courage, but Collins has yet to play in a game since his announcement, and Rogers plays … well … soccer.

Therefore, we need Sam to emerge as a superstar so that he can force NFL athletes to succumb to the modern era and welcome someone who is truly no different than them.

Good news, though: Sam is a legitimate stud. All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year? Yes, please! This 6-foot-1, 260-pound lineman is a certified behemoth, ready to take down any offensive lineman or straight-out-of-the-Blind-Side southern racist/homophobe/jerk-face.

Sam certainly will not be the last athlete to be proud of who he is. So, get used to it NFL. And you know what, the whole sports world can get used to it, too. Welcome to the modern era, where people can be who they want, when they want.

Danny New is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.

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