(Cory is on vacation in the south of France this weekend, so I will be filling in for him. Ok, maybe he’s not in the south of France, but he is without a computer. Looks like you’re stuck with me either way!)
Simply mentioning Michael Sam’s name right now is enough to spark an emotional debate among football fans (and non-fans alike). Last week at the 2014 NFL Draft, he became the first openly gay football player to be drafted by a professional football team. Some people are lauding his courage, some people are disgusted by the move, and then there are others who are asking, “So what?”
Who cares if he’s gay? Isn’t this supposed to be about football? He was drafted just seven spots higher than No. 256, Mr. Irrelevant, so why all the coverage? And can I please watch 10 minutes of ESPN without hearing about Michael Sam or seeing yet another replay of “the kiss”?
To be fair, these people have a valid point; however, it’s rather interesting that this group of fans come from both sides of the “gay rights” aisle. Those who don’t have any qualms about sports players being gay couldn’t care less about the issue, yet those who protest the idea don’t want to see any coverage of it, period. Just make it go away and get back to football.
Now, I realize that this is not really a story specific to the Green Bay Packers, so I hope you will forgive me on that front. Nevertheless, this story is fairly historic and does have ramifications for the rest of the league. And that’s why it matters.
Sports have always carried an air of ultra-masculinity. Real men are tough. Real men are strong. Real men can take a beating and get back up. Real men sweat. Real men like women.
Real men aren’t gay.
Truly, this is why the hardest thing for a gay male athlete to do is to be honest with his teammates. It paints himself as feminine, as someone unworthy of playing a man’s sport. He opens himself up to criticism, taunting, and exclusion. And not just by his teammates, but also his coaches. Will they give him the same opportunities and instructional attention as the others?
So most gay athletes hide who they are, and in doing so live out their days in a string of lies or half-truths. They play along with the conversations about women and sexual conquests, making up stories to fit in. When asked about their personal lives, they answer in vague terms or simply lie their way through the answers. They wear a façade to avoid the torment of their teammates, coaches, and fans.
What most people don’t understand is that this life of lies is the true pain. It’s the constant awareness of not fitting in, of not being accepted, of being different. The fear of being found out follows them around like a shadow, and it shuts other people off to who they really are.
The next time you go to work, pay attention to how often you and your coworkers discuss your family life. How’s the wife? What are you and the kids doing this weekend? Is your family coming to the company cookout next month? These conversations seem insignificant and normal to most people; unfortunately, they are the harbingers of lies and shame for those who feel they have to hide their homosexuality.
Gay athletes don’t want to throw their sex lives in front of everyone. Their bedroom is their business, and like you, they want to keep it that way. They just don’t want to have to continue the lies they’ve had to live. They just want to take part in those everyday social conversations as themselves and not be outcast for it. They don’t want to have to attend charity events alone when the rest of their teammates are bringing their wives with them.
Michael Sam matters, because he has shown the way for others like him to follow. He’s giving courage to those still in hiding and living the lie. And hopefully he’s also teaching acceptance among those who don’t understand that being gay has nothing to do with athleticism, hard work, or professionalism.
In the ideal world, this story wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – matter. But we are not at that ideal world yet, making this an important step in the journey. With any luck, as others proceed to follow in Michael Sam’s footsteps, their 15 minutes of fame will gradually decrease until they become a non-story.
Then they’ll be just another guy filling a spot on a football team.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I understand and respect the differences of opinion that are likely to follow in the comments section. I please ask that any arguments or disagreements be held in a civil manner and not resort to name-calling or other personal attacks. We all have the right to express our opinions, no matter what they are, but we should always do so respectfully.——————
Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporskiFollow @ChadToporski
112 thoughts on “Chad’s Corner: Why Michael Sam Matters”
Well said, especially the last part. That’s my only source of frustration is that all the extra coverage does very little to help what we should be doing, which is eliminating the need for there to be a closet in the first place.
Thanks. Love the username, by the way.
WANTED NOTHING BUT PRESS COVERAGE…PLENTY OF GAYS HAVE PLAYED IN THE NFL WITH THEIR TEAMMATES KNOWING IT. YOU, THE PRESS DID NOT KNOW.BUT TOGAYS WORLD IS BULLSHITE..THESE THINGS SHOULD BE KEPT PRIVATE.THE COVERAGE ON THIS IS WELL LETS JUST SAY I WONT WATCH THE NFL NETWORK UNTIL FOOTBALL STARTS…..COUNTRY IS GOING TO HELL IN A GAY BASKET….WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Sorry you feel that way.
Whether or not he was doing it for the coverage remains to be seen. I’m not fond of this “Oprah documentary” development, because it should just be about football.
And you’re absolutely right, many gay athletes currently play in pro sports, but how many of them have to “live the lie” for fear of what will happen otherwise?
Why all caps? Are you yelling this?
U BET…sorry for caps..as far as gays living lies…give me a break…they want the attention they never got….lets talk religion..oh that’s right who cares..what a flappin country..if u want to speak English [IN AMERICA ] please press 1 another freakin joke about this country….just shut up and play football..everyday we see how its doing in mini camp.lets see more gays kissin on the NFL NETWORK….not.the vets from WW2 would not of fought for this shite.
“if u want to speak English [IN AMERICA ] please press 1 another freakin joke about this country”
You seem to have a tenuous, at best grasp on the language.
“You seem to have a tenuous, at best grasp on the language.”
I disagree. His use of language is poignant, compelling, and very informative.
O BOY A GIFTED WRITER IM IMPRESSED GO MOCK YOURSELF…JUST MY ASS-S-MENT OF HOW SOFT THIS COUNTRY IS GETTIN
I was really in support of Sam entering the draft as an openly gay player, as it breaks down barriers and create conversation. I am starting to become disappointed in the spectical it has become.
As a football fan, i wanted him to pretty much say “I’m Gay” and then shut-up about, and the earn a position on the Rams. That would be the way to become truly great. Instead he said that is how he wanted to approach it, then willing brought circus with, meaning the documentary. It makes me wonder what his ultimate motivation is.
Is wanting to be a profootball player who is also? Or does he want to be a media star?
THANK YOU….FREAKING MEDIA…..REMINDS ME OF THE INCOGNITO SHITE ALSO…ANOTHER BULLSHITE THANG THAT THE MEDIA LATCHES ON TO….BULLING A 325LB FOOTBALL…RIGHTTTTTTTT
Dude. I am not a fan of the SSM crusade in our culture either. But you need to be winsome with your arguments. Throwing stones at people is only going to make them defensive and will accomplish the exact opposite of your objective.
Ultimately, I think his coming out was done for one reason…Michael Sam’s NFL career.
Think about it…he’s a tweener. He’s a 4-3 DE not big enough (for now) to play as a three-down 4-3 DE and not fast enough or fluid enough to play as a 3-4 OLB. According to many reports, he will be a pass rush specialist like Bruce Irvins in Seattle. I don’t think he’ll be as good as Irvins.
His numbers from the NFL Combine, his pro day and several scouting reports support this. Jeff Fisher said he’s a pass rush specialist as of now.
Michael Sams wants a career in the NFL. Most college football players do. Sams knows his prospects are okay at best.
What he’s done is call attention to himself. Now, the NFL faces the possibility of (1) having an openly gay player on the opening day roster of a team(the Rams at this point), or (2) seeing the Rams cut the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL because he isn’t good enough. The second scenario is possible, but will the NFL accept that possibility? I doubt the league wants to face the backlash associated with the Rams cutting Michael Sams.
There are those who will not accept the possibility Sams may not be good enough for the NFL. If NFLE was still operating, this would be a good place for him to be and possibly follow the Kurt Warner path to winning the Super Bowl.
There are those who will accept nothing less than him being on the field on opening day. There are those, including me, who hope he’s treated like any other rookie. There are those who think he doesn’t belong anywhere near a football field.
What I see is a spectacle right now. I also see a player who called a lot of attention to himself and placed himself in the spotlight through something other than his play on the field. How many other #7 draft picks have received this much media attention…ever?
He’s getting this attention because the first openly gay NFL player is a watershed moment. It’s newsworthy. If Johnny Manziel fell to the 7th rd, he’d have a camera at his house too, because it’s newsworthy. Sam’s case is obviously different, but the point remains that it’s newsworthy.
Now I’ll admit, I don’t like the whole Oprah documentary. Bad move. I wonder if the Rams were aware of that. If not, I can’t imagine they’re too happy either. If he wants to be viewed as a football player, then he should focus on football.
All of the things you said about being a tweener were said about Elvis Dumervil in 2006 too. He went in the 4th rd. If Michael Sam had not come out, I’d be willing to bet he would not have tumbled to the 7th round, but that’s just me speculating. Sam has drawn a lot of comparisons to Dumervil. Dumervil is 5’11” 260 lbs. and Sam is 6’2″ 261 lbs. So if anything, he still has potential to be great.
Reggie White was great. Dumervil is very good. Sam has the potential to be good, maybe very good in time.
I know why he’s getting the attention. My point is he used that attention to get drafted. IMO, he wasn’t worth a draft pick. At the same time, he would have been a top UDFA for some team, maybe the Packers.
At 5’11”, I’ve seen Dumervil use his speed to get under blockers. At 6’2″ it will be more difficult for Sam to do the same.
In college, a lot of players were good only to be marginal, or bad, in the NFL. Those who come to mind are Andre Ware (Heisman winning QB), Ryan Leaf (#2 QB drafted after Peyton Manning), Brian Bosworth, Tony Mandarich (worst draft pick in GB history, maybe second worst).
I think Sam fell in the draft, not for being openly gay, but because of the spectacle that surrounds him. A big distraction in camp can hurt the chances of a winning season. Remember when Favre left and came back his job? It affected the whole season. This will likely be similar.
Favre didn’t affect the 2008 Packers’ season. Injury was the real culprit.
Favre certainly affected the media coverage of the Packers’ season that year, however.
WONT PLAY A DOWN…BUT HOW TO YOU CUT HIM WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT FROM ALL THE GIRLY GUY METROS OUT THERE….WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE WILL SEE. COMPARING HIM TO REGGIE BITE OR ELVIS BLUEMERVIL IS A FREAKING JOKE…NO ONE WOULD OF HEARD OF HIM IF HE DID NOT COME OUT
No one ever hears about a consensus All-American/ SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Unless they say they’re gay.
I wrote this way back when they talked about Sams slipping in the draft. I go back to 2011 draft when we drafted Ricky Elmore out of Arizona state who led in sacks and had better measurables than Sam. We drafted him in the sixth round that year, why because he was a tweener, never made the team. Sams 6’2 Elmore 6’4; Sams 255 Elmore 256; 40 time Sams 4.91 Elmore 4.88; vertical sams 30″ Elmore 31.5. As you continue very similar in their combine stats. I still remember the two youtube videos of Elmore found at the bottom of this article. http://www.packersnews.com/article/20110501/PKR01/110501032/Green-Bay-Packers-like-OLB-Ricky-Elmore-despite-workout-numbers
You may be absolutely right. But I’m not going to pretend to know his motives. Only Michael Sam knows that.
I don’t think the motive even matters, though. What Sam has done is begin to break down the social barriers and challenge the idea that gay players should keep their mouths shut and leave their masks on.
Like it or not like it, Sam’s story will have a long-lasting effect on the NFL and pro sports. There’s no denying it. And again… that’s why it matters.
His motives may not ultimately matter for the historic significance, or in paving the way for others. However, his motives will count when we examine him specifically.
I want him to make a team and to play well. He was drafted by the Rams, but that will be a hard squad to make. The media circus will make it hard for him to find another team willing to pick him up in preseason should that be needed.
Lombardi dealt with some sensitive racial issues as the Packers coach. He was very open minded and accepting, but he kept the distractions to a minimum. I think that is what most teams want.
I believe Sam is a good guy, but the tidal wave that rolls with him right now is something different.
Or maybe gay players should take the Aaron Rodgers route and leave their personal life separate from their work by choice. Simply do not willingly divulge your personal life, gay or straight, for reasons of personal dignity. Micheal Sam chose the undignified promotional route as a happy pawn.
THEY HAVE BEEN BROKEN DOWN FOR A LONG TIME…JUST DONT LIKE IT SHOVED DOWN MY THROAT LIKE HE DOES…SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PLAY.MOCK TEBOW…BUT SAM IS THE MAN
So the media can condemn Tebow for his religion preference and then build someone up higher than the moon because he is gay. “Double Standard” media sucks.
Not sure I would want him in the locker room checking out everyones package. If you put me in a womens locker room, I am checking everything out. If they allow him in the mens locker room they should allow men in the womens locker room as well. He looks at mens bungholes like normal men look at womens goodies. I just wouldn’t be comfortable having him in the same locker room. Just as a womens locker room wouldn’t be comfortable with a man in their. Just my humble opinion…
Tebow wasn’t bashed because he was Christian. He was bashed because his Christianity was brought up by fans as a reason for him to start, despite him being a completely sub-par player.
Christianity has been prominent before Tebow and it will be after Tebow. Players pointing to the sky after a TD. Prayer circles after a game or an injury. Players thanking god after a game. All open displays that receive no blowback or criticism. Did you know Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson were devout Christians? Are they criticized?
It wasn’t simply that Tebow was a Christian that caused the media tumult, it was that he openly promoted abstinence and ran afoul of the screeching hens in the abortion industry and therefore the media in general. These same media types did finally find something worth praying for though, Tim Tebow’s failure as an NFL player.
The abortion industry? How could’ve I forgotten the most powerful institution in America? Good thing we have heroes like Tebow who won’t stand for things like freedom and the separation of church and state.
Yes, because religious freedom and sexual orientation have always been protected equally, just as men and women have always held equal power and status in society without either being exploited by institutionalized sexist policies and practices.
RIGHT ON BIG T
we are being conditioned by double speak, used to be that if someone didn’t feel up to monogamous pairing individuals quietly went about their business because of embarrassment. the gay life does not equal procreation by a man and woman. all this nonsense about who is who or what is taking away from sports where I used to think I could escape and scream for the home team, I want to forget about life for a while and enjoy. Who cares if Jason Collins or Michael Sam are homosexual? What else have they done but said, “I am queer”. So what. I think Lombardi would have said fight for a place on the roster but if you choose to bring your media circus to town with you, “you are out of here”. Let men be men and the bravado that goes with it, if you want to handle your buddy’s junk keep that to yourself. You can’t be my camping buddy, find a different tent.
Anyone who thinks the first openly gay player in the NFL would not create a media circus is dreaming. You do not have someone breaking a public opinion barrier like this without media attention.
But the only reason the media exists is because people watch/read/listen to it. This story has everything the public wants: violence, sex, breaking a cultural norm.
If you want to complain about anything, complain about the society that will give that Oprah documentary monster ratings.
And if the ratings are a bust, so much the better. The next openly gay player will have a much easier time, and the rest of us can go back to ignoring other peoples sex lives.
Great comment, Ed.
I heard the tv show is off. I personally don’t care if the guys gay or not. What happens if he legitimately doesn’t make the team? Can you imagine the crapstorm the Rams will suffer from the pc types?
Joe, that is a great point. If he totally sucks, they are stuck with him forever. The media will crucify anyone that messes with their little darling. The media is the only reason obammy is still president. Sorry Rams you stuck with em…
“The media is the only reason obammy is still president.”
That, and two elections by the people of this country.
Just like any other time someone doesn’t make a team or is fired in corporate America because they aren’t good enough–regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation: you’re always prepared to defend your decisions should issues arise. If anything, sports organizations may have it easier than other businesses.
Sam does not have an easy road in front of him. He’s walking into a balanced and deep DL situation, and, as a 7th rounder, he’ll have a difficult time proving he belongs.
The distraction from football is not for GB. The execution of championship football without the sideshows to disrupt that goal is the only thing that matters.
This means for (Sam, Tebow, Manziel, Hernandez),or any player who wants to be more important than the other players for reasons NOT related to football need not apply.
If Sam had simply stated that he was gay and was happy to be drafted by any team AND then played football then I would root for him. His comments about being drafted too low only because he was gay might be spot on but I don’t care. He is not that great of a prospect.
I think Jackie Robinson would not of said anything but showed he belonged because of his talents. I feel the Oprah’s, media, agents and others are going to use him to make MONEY and then go away. We just don’t need the spectacle in GB!
I’m sure there are gay players on the team, I don’t have a problem with that. If they wanted to come out and support SAM and say they were Gay, they should have done that in the off season. Then proceeded to get back to FOOTBALL.
As that perhaps rare breed of openly queer Packer fan, I want to say kudos to you for this article, kudos to this blog for hosting this article, kudos to the Packer fans here proving the stereotypes about sports fandom wrong. If you care about the Packers organization and what they stand for, you care about people, period. And letting people be the kind of people they want to be is about the very first rule we have to agree to live by if we have any self-dignity. St. Vince knew this – you guys know this – and you make football fandom a better place by honestly addressing these issues with sincerity. Thanks again.
The Rams and Jeff are all smiles right now, but wait until Sam cornholes them a few times, he will wipe those smiles right off their faces. The Rams created a circus in their organization. How will they play football with the media whores around all the time?
“…but wait until Sam cornholes them a few times…”
Did you seriously just write that? Come on, man.
You showing no class today. Your comments are out of line. Maybe that is you goal.
At this point I feel truly sorry for you if this is how you see the world.
CALLED FREEDOM OF SPEECH…..OR IS THAY ONLY FOR MEDIA AZZHOLES WHO SPREAD BULLSHITE…YOU DONT HAVE TO LIKE IT BUT I CAN SAY ANYTHING ALSO…..HES THE FLAVOR OF THE MONTH..RAMS SHOULD SIGN INCOGNITO….THATS THE TICKET…OOPS IM ONLY KIDDING…NOT
Freedom of speech means the government can’t interfere with your right to say what you want. It does not mean you can say whatever you want and not be judged for what you say, or that your speech cannot have consequences.
I always wondered if you were a troll or just plain stupid. I guess now I know.
I’m not sure what is so “brave” about allowing yourself to be used by the NY Times, ESPN (Disney) to push the gay agenda in such a forced manner upon fans of the NFL. The story the Times published was timed to get maximum publicity because the draft has become one of the largest media events of the year. You may have missed their similar in depth profiles on the thousands of other eligible players, this is all they are interested in. ESPN and other media acolytes played along to pimp the story and to put the NFL and it’s fans in the crosshairs as millions of potential bigots. Then they set the cameras up and got their money shot… IN YOUR FACE AMERICA! I swear the media had a cumulative orgasm at that moment. And now we learn that’s not the end of of it as The Oprah will throw her weight into it to give the hype continued legs. You have all been played, the NFL got played and NFL Teams and fans got played and my Twitter follow list got a trimming.
You guys can take some of the heat off this kid if your GM would come out….then he could go back in
If you’re trying to egg us on by poking at Ted Thompson, you’re on the wrong blog.
The truth is until we as a people take the adjectives out of our descriptions RACE and BASIS and all that will never go away. A team interviews coaches, thats right coaches, I do not need to know how many black coaches one interviews. Sam wants to be a fottball layer, then he needs to stop being on a crusade by referring to himself as gay. There have been planty of gay football players in the past andas Chale Casserlie said the whole team knew many times but they were fottball players in everyones mind. The problem is when the MEDIA and yes the MEDIA stop taking the adjectives out the so call stories go away because they do not get all these responses.
should proof read before send but you get the point
Should’nt we all 🙂
Let’s say the man was a serial philanderer and was married and the real important question asked by ESPN is, “Will he make it in the NFL?” I mean that’s his sexual preference right? I’m sorry I just don’t care.
ESPN guy: ” WR Joe Roberts is a serial philanderer and we demand to know if the NFL will accept his sexuality.” I mean do you think Aaron Rodgers stays up at night wondering whether his ace WR is doing something he shouldn’t in May after the season but before pre-season.
Everyone knows what the Sam issue is about, stop kidding yourselves.
I think I am missing your point. The point is that he is gay. Right?
Yup, you are missing the point.
Let me start by saying I feel bad for people with same sex attraction. I will never know what it is to go through life with the problems that people with those struggles have.
However, I don’t think it does anyone any good to celebrate abnormal behavoirs. As humans, we do not act on every harmful desire we might have. That’s what keeps is civilized. If I had an anger issue, and liked to constantly get in fist fights, I don’t think society would celebrate this type of behavior. There are countless other beviours that we all restrain ourselves from participating in because those behaviors are harmful to others or ourselves.
I cannot join in any type of celebration as a “civil rights” issue that is in reality a celebration if abnormal and harmful beviours. Much like alcoholism, gluttony, or anti social behavior, these activities should not grant the perpetrator any special “rights”.
I sincerely hope and pray these individuals receive help in dealing with these perverted desires. But in the meantime, I have no intention to celebrate this behavior and tell my children that it’s ok.
You’re comparing violence and substance abuse with two people loving each other, that’s where the problem lies. You know what’s harmful? Burdening yourself with senseless mistrust and hatred of a group of people that have done nothing to you.
I guess when one cannot argue facts, revert to just saying that someone “hates”. It is such a tired, lazy argument.
If you read my post, I challenge you to site anything “hateful”. On the contrary, I stated above I feel bad for people with same sex attraction and hope they get help.
We can argue weather gay sex is harmful..check the statistics at the CDC.. this is if you want to have a substantive argument. If you just want to throw out ad hominem attacks, you are admitting defeat.
You never provided facts and still haven’t. Why should I look up facts that back up the statements you’re trying to make?
Are you really trying to argue that gay sex is not a high risk behavior? Ever heard of HIV?
Sex in general is risky behavior. Gay or straight. HIV effect straight men and women.
But like it or not. Gay people make up a sizable part of the US population, it is a very common life style, and people from both liberal and deeply conservative backgrounds turnout to be gay. So it may not just be a choice. Their choice seems to be whether to accept who they are.
Based on you praying comment, you show a religeous background. Pray for them, and pray for the ability to accept the things you cannot change, and reserve judgement for a higher power.
Sven is absolutely correct- SEX, straight or homosexual- carries with it health risks.
That being said, it is true that anal sex is a far riskier activity when it comes to the transmission of HIV virus than tradition sex. That is fact.
Unfortunately, what KEN doesn’t understand is that anal sex isn’t necessarily a homosexual act. Ken probably doesn’t understand that many straight couples have anal sex. Ken probably doesn’t understand that many gay couples don’t have anal sex.
This is absolutely false. Sex in itself is not a high risk behavior. Anyone that has abstained from sex until marriage (which Tebow is laughed at for)and remains faithful to their spouse has no risk of an STD as long as their spouse is as well. You may argue the same for a homosexual couple, but again, check the CDC website for the statistics on STD’s among the homosexual community. You will find STD’s are more prevalent there.
I do pray for those with same sex attraction thank you. It is not my judgment that this behavior is wrong, it is the judgment of my God in whom I put my faith. He will surely judge.
In addition to having higher rates of syphilis, more than half of all new HIV infections occur among MSM. Many factors contribute to the higher rates of STDs among MSM:
•Higher rates of HIV and STDs among MSM increase a person’s risk of coming into contact with an infected partner and becoming infected themselves.
•Certain behaviors- such as not using condoms regularly and having anal sex – increase STD risk.
Directly from the CDC website for those unwilling to look.
You see – right there – Al. You are making an assumption that SSA is a biological and not an ethical issue.
Prove it. Does the science (that isn’t half baked propaganda funded by liberal super PACs) back you up. No sir. No it does not.
You my friend have put your faith in another person (or possibly yourself – I don’t know your particular circumstances) rather than in what a religious text says. The same religious text that GAVE you the very right to question societal norms.
Both of us have faith. Mine just has a bit more grounding than “I feel therefore I am.”
“You see – right there – Al. You are making an assumption that SSA is a biological and not an ethical issue.”
And you’re making the assumption it’s an ethical issue rather than a biological one. What’s your point? Let me ask you, though. At what point in your life did you choose an attraction to women over men?
“Prove it. Does the science (that isn’t half baked propaganda funded by liberal super PACs) back you up. No sir. No it does not.”
1. Like I said to Ken, you’re the one arguing against it and why it should stay illegal, but the burden of proof is entirely on me? Keep in mind, the bible is not proof. If we can use fiction as proof to our arguments, can I justify my distrust of mice on Tom and Jerry cartoons?
2. You’ve already shown your bias with the whole “liberal super PAC” comment. Aren’t you all about open/honest conversation? Why would I bother when you’re already prepared to ignore it for partisan reasons? By the way, I don’t get into partisan politics. It’s divisive nonsense.
“You my friend have put your faith in another person (or possibly yourself – I don’t know your particular circumstances) rather than in what a religious text says. The same religious text that GAVE you the very right to question societal norms.”
Yep, myself. The bible did not give me my rights to question social norms, but the constitution definitely has. You know, that document that is specifically against this country becoming a theocracy like you seem to think it already is.
“Both of us have faith. Mine just has a bit more grounding than “I feel therefore I am.””
Ah, I love your literal holier than thou attitude.
You had to know that writing on this subject was going to start a poo-flinging festival right? 😀 I normally don’t wade in on this type of stuff online because it rarely does anything other than make otherwise very friendly people get very angry with each other. That said, I will give my .02 here, because I believe I have been around this blog long enough for most fellow Packer fans to know I am (usually ;)) a reasonable person.
The SSM cultural flash point (and Michael Sam in the NFL as a subset) boils down to a religious argument. Like it or not, in our country that is still mostly historical Evangelical Protestant Christianity vs the dominant religion of today (secular me-ism). The majority of practicing Evangelical Protestant Christians (at the very least 8% of the country – quite a large subset of the population) strongly believes that the Bible says that any sex outside of marriage (sanctioned by the church) is wrong. Including all state sanctioned SSM. Practicing one’s religion demands that the convert tell the truth about what they know the Bible says, without compromise. Regardless of what the cultural consequences are. But it should be done with care for all people, wanting them to come to know the God of the Bible. This is PRACTICING one’s religion – and it is not bigotry or hate. If someone really believes God is who the Bible says He is and doesn’t say anything to those he cares about who are in poor relationship with him is the worst of friend. In the mind of the Christian, a lot more is at stake than “well, as long as you are happy.”
That being said, those who don’t believe the Bible is the literal word of God are free to not believe this. But they also should recognize that the heart of the belief they disagree with is not (in most “opponents”), “bigotry”. That is convenient slander – only suitable for those who are too lazy to look at the real reason for the current argument.
Any fight that happens between 2 people or groups of people, isn’t really about the thing they are fighting about. It’s about the issues that are under the fight. For example, if a married couple argues about the husband not doing the dishes, their argument isn’t really about the dishes – it’s about a feeling of betrayal of trust on the part of the wife that the husband will actually perform the duties he promises he will.
In this case, the argument, including Michael Sam and the NFL, should not be about SSM or “gay rights”. It’s MUCH bigger than that. At the very least it’s modern western sexual ethics, and at the most it’s a formative point in the discussion of freedom of religion in modern western culture.
Now, I do wish Mr. Sam all the success in the world – just like I wish every NFL player not playing against the Packers all the success in the world. Any kid who’s worked hard enough to even make it to an NFL camp should be lauded for their supreme accomplishment. But I will never be “for” recognition of any sexual relationship outside of marriage and I grow weary of the “get with the 21st century” song-and-dance in the media. I grow weary with the barely conceived media party being thrown around Mr. Sam. I grow weary of the “bigot/hater etc..” labels being thrown at Christians when those often doing the throwing are sadly misinformed on the reason behind the beliefs.
Again, just my .02
The problem is when your religious practice extends into the lives of others. We are not a theocracy, so your religious beliefs should not cross into my secular law. The bigotry part comes not from someone who doesn’t believe in or support SSM, but from those who actively try to bar others from doing it.
Even if I conceded your point – which I don’t – the culture has shifted so wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other that there is massive cultural pressure for those that don’t believe in SSM to “get with it”, and increasingly social and economic punishment for those that don’t. We have indeed come a long way from the “we just want to get along” argument used by SSM protagonists in the 90’s.
It is not my business to police someone else’s sex life, as long as all civil laws are obeyed. It IS my business, my right and my command (from the Bible) to tell people the truth.
The bottom line is that the institution of marriage has been drastically redefined in our a very short time frame. Marriage between 1 man and 1 woman who are not related with the purpose of raising a family has been such a cultural norm for millennia that a veritable plethora of laws are completely wrapped up in it. Taxes. Healthcare. Co-dependent work relationships. Schooling. (just to name a few) These things effect EVERYONE’S life. Not just SSM proponents.
If the family structure were somehow completely separated from civil government laws. But that is a knot that is impossible to untangle.
If there were a different “marriage” in the civil government and the church, I’d certainly listen be open to not voting my beliefs on this issue. But, again, how can the government be expected to pull off such a massive societal change without damaging society.
This change in the culture of our family structure effects all off civil society. And it is quite likely that it will have unforseen social consequences.
How is that bigotry again?
The institution of marriage used to be about tying two families together for financial gain and to strengthen power and business bonds.
Women used to also be men’s property.
There’s an awful lot of things that have changed about marriage over a millennia.
This isn’t the ideal place to discuss the underpinnings of this issue, or to summarize the arguments of both sides. In general, historically, many of the mores of a society have been codified into secular law. Those mores have generally been derived from the teachings of the dominant religion of that society. Over the last 400 years or so, especially in the western world, there has been a lessening of the ability of any single source of authority to form, or indeed, impose, those mores on society as a whole, such as the Catholic Church was largely able to do at one time in large regions. More recently, there have been more sources involved in the formation of society’s mores. Mass media has allowed many more voices to vie for the molding of mores and public opinion. Clearly, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam prohibit homosexual acts, with Hindus and Buddhists apparently having conflicting views. Most proponents of Sharia law would criminalize homosexuality. Whatever the source, clearly the public’s view regarding homosexuality has changed rapidly over the last few years.
There has always been some tension involved when discussing the right to free speech, to petition one’s government for redress of grievances, freedom of religion and exercise thereof, versus one’s ability to exercise those rights. Sam should have the right to be gay, the right to engage in homosexual acts, and the free speech right to tell the world of his orientation. An employer should not be able to refuse to hire him, or fire him for exercising those rights. The tension is whether a co-worker, or indeed anyone commenting on this site, can or should be able legally to publicly say anything that might be considered negative about Sam’s orientation without his or her employer being allowed to fire that person, and what de facto consequences, if any, are allowable. Right now the answer is on a case by case basis. One can publicly criticize a co-worker’s position on an issue for advocating racism, sexism, incest, pedophilia, polygamy, or many other things that are currently considered deviant or a represent a minority view, without much if any fear of repercussions. I think an employer should only be able to police what is done and said at the workplace, and not otherwise. An NFL team should draft Sam and give him a roster spot if he is good enough, and should not be allowed to take into consideration whether it might cause a distraction.
“You had to know that writing on this subject was going to start a poo-flinging festival right?”
Haha, yes. That’s why I added the “Author’s Note” at the end. You and I are on opposite ends of the argument here, but I share your disdain for people who call others “bigots” or “homophobes.” It does nothing to help the discourse and is just as bad as using a term like “faggot.”
How you express your opinion is often more important than what the opinion is.
I agree that it is important to be educated about the topic you are speaking on in any public forum. However it is important to also be saying valuable things. I mean, to use an extreme example, both MLK and Hitler were excellent orators. But one spewed filth and the other reconciliation and care – even for “enemies.”
When two parties disagree, there is something to be said for saying: “With all respect, I will compromise to this point and no further.”
THAT is TRUE tolerance. Forbearance of others whom you (perhaps vehemently) disagree with. Truth telling for the benefit of all involved and continuing the relationship. Only then can ideas and care truly be present.
Thanks Bearmeat. I think you have articulated the point of view from a Christian perspective effectively.
Thanks Ken. I have many gay friends and have had many hard conversations – this is a very hard issue in current western culture.
Alot comes down to whether you are being guided by the words of Jesus, or the letters of Paul and stories of the Old Testament. Jesus preached acceptance.
This is a huge topic. It is very interesting to see the many ways we view it and how much we can disagree…. But we love us some Packer’s football, and that is a good thing.
That’s very true. It is interesting.
Regarding Jesus vs Paul vs Moses we’re again talking about the issue UNDER the current cultural fight. What exactly does the Bible say? When? By Whom? Does it disagree with itself? Why is it even relevant? How should believers interpret passages on homosexuality? Is that at all relevant to non-believers? And on the other side of things – What is the current subconscious cultural message? Who’s doing the talking? (where does the info come from) Why? What are the ramifications 40 years down the line for one course of action over the other? What direction should we go as a democratic republic? Why?
I could talk about that stuff all day because it’s really important. THOSE are the discussions this country SHOULD be having, but usually people either don’t have the balls to state what they believe or they do and (unfortunately) express their thoughts inappropriately or ineffectively.
So, like Chad said, instead we get “bigot” “homophobe” “hater” “fag” etc..
I grow weary of the sound-byte stupidity the current culture seems to crave. The Fox News AND MSNBC crowd. (Or HuffPo/Breitbart, etc..)
I have found that there is much wisdom to be gained from REAL conversation with others who you respect who don’t agree with you – as long as you come with an open mind and are prepared to coherently argue your POV.
Oh – and I would be dead wrong if I didn’t say:
GO PACK GO!
Who said Michael Sam is having sex?
Why isn’t there a huge outcry because word just got out that Aaron Rodgers is dating Oliva Munn?
I’m betting Rodgers is just as likely to be engaging in pre-marital sex as Michael Sam is.
Well said Oppy.
… And therein lies the other part of this particular cultural flashpoint. Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn (who is that?) dating and (potentially) having pre-marital sex is no more righteous that any gay man or woman having sex.
As a Christian, it shames me that so many other believers put homosexuality as a special category of sin. It is not. All sin makes man guilty in the eyes of a Holy God. Which leads me to the Gospel. Once again.
I am no different. I may not struggle with same sex attraction, but I am a sinner. I need the cross. And I am thankful for Jesus doing what I could not.
This is the REAL reason behind the cultural war going on. Not someone’s bedroom habits. OF COURSE Christians and non-Christians aren’t going to agree on what constitutes appropriate sexual practice! They don’t agree on what (or whom) laid the foundation of the Earth!
I was going to post about the fact that in the eyes of god all sin is equal sin, but decided against it.
It is one of the principal reasons that I believe it is disingenuous of many Christians to claim that the issues they have with homosexuals isn’t bigotry, it is covered under their rights to religious freedom.
If they truly abide by the bible, they would know that they, we, are all sinners in the eyes of god, of the same magnitude as any other sinner, and furthermore, only God is fit to judge man.
Yet, many Christians seem to take an awful lot of offense to homosexuals in particular, including but not limited to telling them they are not welcome in their church if they are “practicing homosexuals”. Yet, we all sin. We are all “practicing sinners”..and the call is always out by these same christians, we’re all sinners, come to church and here the word of god, be saved..Unless, of course, you’re a filthy sodomite.
Again, I’m not saying ALL Christians.. however, a good number.
You are correct in a lot of what you say here. It is not the act of homosexual sex that will keep the gay person from heaven. What will keep them from heaven is not accepting Christ. I sin on a daily basis, but my acceptance of Christ as my savior washes away my sin. My sanctification is trying to live my life more like Christ.
As I said above, the “you are hateful or judgmental” attacks are really just lazy reactions. Much like when I tell my child he cant have another piece of candy, play in traffic, or touch a hot stove, I am telling him not to do that for his own protection and BECAUSE I love him. What most right minded Christians are saying to the people with same sex attraction is the same thing. You shouldn’t do that BECAUSE we love you and care about you.
I in no way think that anyone should be discriminated against if they engage in this behavior. At the same time as I said above I will not celebrate it either.
I don’t think homosexuals want the “straight world at large” to CELEBRATE homosexuality.
I’m pretty sure most homosexuals just want to live their life without being told to deny who they are, deny who they love, and hide their sexuality. They want to live their life out with the same liberties and freedoms as anyone else.
When people are saying they shouldn’t come out of the closet, just shut up and play ball.. Does anyone say that about straight players? Does anyone tell a straight player he shouldn’t mention his girlfriend or kiss his loved one on TV?
Sorry, but a good deal of these people who are saying Michael Sam should shut up, put his head down, and just play football- would give a standing ovation if a player wore a t-shirt to a press conference that read “IM A REAL MAN WHO ONLY LOVES WOMEN”.
I think what is lost on many of these people who claim Sam is going out of his way to create a media frenzy by coming out of the closet don’t realize is that Sam is NOT creating it. THEY ARE. The people who don’t care Sam is gay.. don’t care. They don’t care any more than they care that another player is straight.
I have no problem with gays chasing their dream to play in the NFL. If football is in your blood and you want to play because you truly love the game, then great. I have to admit though, that it did seem (to me) awkward watching 2 men kissing and hugging on Draft day. the kiss didn’t stir up memories of Ray Nitschki drilling a running back or Ronnie Lott smashing a WR over the middle as I witnessed it. But I guess that’s me stereotyping.I wonder how many gay guys in NFL history were great players? I guess we may never know because they were in the closet. My guess is not many, but there I go stereotyping again
And thanks fellow bloggers for not bringing up jokes about ‘Tight ends’ , Wide receivers’ and ‘ Dick Buttkiss’…lol
Mike Dicka, Dick Buttkiss and the rest of the Bares tight ends go into a gay bar …. yada yada yada ….. punchline.
Punchline….Ted Thompson’s stands up and says yada yada yada
Punchline – The Vikings. All 51 years.
How did this get two down votes?!?
Arrrr, dare be purple trolls hidin’ in da shadows.
Being gay in today’s society must be a heavy cross to bear and I wouldn’t pretend to understand the psychological stress associated with it.
I’m confident that a large majority of Americans have compassion for and do openly accept those who are gay.
Bottom line: I hope Mr. Sams is judged exclusively on his ability to play football and not make the Rams’ team because he is gay nor be cut because of it.
$3 Bill Ted says he’s just getting started and has no intention of retiring. National holiday in MN….he’s now our favorite gay cheese curd
I don’t believe Michael Sam came out to garner a huge amount of media attention, or to try to strong-arm himself a job in the NFL.
I believe he probably at least somewhat felt like it was his duty to be that guy. His teammates already knew. He most likely felt he could make a difference for future gay athletes, make it easier for those who follow.
That’s actually a tremendous burden and a great weight on your shoulders, if you think about it.
That all being said, I believe that when the media storm hits, or Oprah approaches you to do a documentary, how do you turn it away- especially if you are attempting to do something groundbreaking for future generations of gay athletes, trying to tear down some walls? The focus and attention is needed. You WANT dialog.
Lastly, I’m sure Michael Sam knows he’s not guaranteed an NFL career. Tim Tebow probably knew it too. He certainly didn’t shy away from the media. Why would Sam? If this is your moment- regardless if you asked for the attention or not- if you are given the limelight, and you aren’t guaranteed a career- why wouldn’t you ride the wave?
There are so many angles to this. I think the only reason Sam’s being gay is an issue, is because there are so many people saying “I don’t care if he’s gay or straight, he should just keep it to himself and play ball.” These same people don’t give two shits if rookie kisses his GIRLfriend on national television when he’s drafted, or when a old vet tells the media how much he loves his girlfriend or wife and he wouldn’t have been able to give it his all over the years without her support.
Sam stepping forward is the first step to more gay players feeling okay about being themselves.
This is a really hard concept for many to grasp, but gay people live normal lives like anyone else. They don’t want to be held to a different standard because they’re gay. They really want to be left the eff alone. They don’t want to have to hide details of their life that straight people are more than free to share with the world. They just want EQUALITY.
Shutting your mouth and pretending you don’t have a significant other isn’t equal, it isn’t freedom, and it’s not right… Regardless if it makes YOU comfortable or not.
To anyone who thinks being gay is a choice: when did you decide to be heterosexual?
The gay rights agenda, much like the women’s movement, is about being treated as an equal human being. If you feel threatened by the gay rights movement I think you should take a long, deep look within yourself and think about why someone else’s life makes you so uneasy. As for biblical reasons: the bible condemns many things that are commonly a center (such as eating shellfish, or mixing wool and cotton). How does one acquire the power to pick and choose amongst God’s word, and to not be concerned about some rules while stressing the importance of others? Seems heretical, if not outright blasphemous.
And so I don’t come off too preachy, I’d like to add one humorous note: we have the bible to thank for the protective cup (see Deuteronomy 23:1).
Packer fans are hilarious! Spewing all your philosophic bs about a 7th round Rams draft pick who just happens to be gay! Who cares? Apparently you tools who have no lives and plenty of time to share your half baked opinions. In the meantime, if the topic is is such importance to you, why are you not discussing the situation in your own home? We actually love Ted, not because he’s gay, but because he’s a horrible GM. But he IS gay by the way. Doesn’t make him a bad guy, actually seems like a nice guy. Socially awkward, but wouldn’t you be? Now u girls have something else to talk amongst yourselves about. Boring bunch…..you can thank me later for the breaking news. Out
“Apparently you tools who have no lives and plenty of time to share your half baked opinions.”
Pot, meet kettle.
ViQueen fans are hilarious, their team sucks every year so they have nothing better to do than TROLL Packer sites!
Viqeens abd their fans are our biotches!
Packers fans have plenty of free time to discuss a variety of things, unlike Vikings fans…
…because the Packers run a tight ship and it gets tired talking about winning numerous NFC North, NFC, and Superbowl titles.
When your team handles its business year in, year out.. It affords the fans time for idle chit-chat.
Packers fans- talking about random shit because they can afford to for the last 20 years and counting
While I disagree with your conclusions Two Bears, I do respect your thoughtfulness. That is the kind of dialogue that leads to reconciliation between people who disagree.
Thanks, Bearmeat. I hope this isn’t considered too blasphemous, but a while back I started writing a Packers bible, and I would like to again offer this verse that speaks of who is the real ‘America’s Team’:
Book of Lombardi, verses 7:23-29, which reads, “(23) Nay, though some wicked tribes may proclaimeth to be the team most coveted by ye mighty nation, they are but false usurpers of God’s true glory, and are merely the sheep of a false shepherd. (24) For the righteous team of the land has e’er dwelled in the blessed Fielde of Lambeau, (25) And woe be unto the man who sayeth not that This Be True, for they are truly a cursed and wretched sinner. (26) Behold, for God hath created The Packers in his image and wishes them dominion over the land and through the air, and they shall feast while false idols languish and suffer plague and famine. (27) Go forth Packers, go forth! (28) Go forth in glory (29) And so it came to be.”
And the first commandment of the Book of Holmgren “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh, but the team that hast the edge in takethovers may more easily enter the Kingdom of the Lord’s win column.”
AL – I disagree with you that I am acting holier than thou and I stand by my point of the funding sources for a lot of social “research”. I work in academia. From the point of an insider, I know that it isn’t uncommon for research to be heavily slanted to satisfy ideological funders.
We are now discussing the real issues: the bibles accuracy and authority to inform lives. I would be willing to speak further on this with you – if you’d like.
If not. I understand. This is a hard subject. But ask yourself if you really know the book you claim is fiction. And if you really understand your “opponents” hearts as well as you claim?
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