Thursday, Apr 24, 2014 05:32 am est

NFL must accept LGBTQ players

Posted on February 11, 2014 | by Nina Golshan

University of Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam told ESPN that he is “an openly, proud gay man” on Feb. 9. Already in line as a top draft pick for 2014, Sam’s announcement has produced a reaction ranging from comforting declarations of encouragement from fellow athletes, to a frustrating lack of support from NFL officials and administrators.

The NFL, and other professional sports leagues, have had a long-recorded history of bigotry and homophobia. Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in professional American sports, was not offered any contracts with the NBA this summer after he came out last year. While NBA commissioner Adam Silver commented that Collins’ career came to an end for “basketball reasons,” it is hard to believe that his sexuality did not come into play.

Collins revealed he had met with Sam to provide support and advice, but one can only hope that the NFL more warmly receives Sam than the NBA received Collins. Despite comments from NFL officials that Sam might be a “distraction,” fellow players have shown consistent support.

The NFL continues to hide behind false concern for its players, masking inherent homophobia that has slowly become more obvious over the years. There have been controversies, from those demonstrating the NFL’s concern with hyper masculinity, like the Snickers Super Bowl ad in 2007, to those that shined a light on flagrant homophobia, like Chris Kluwe’s release from the Minnesota Vikings, which he says resulted from his open activism in support of LGBTQ rights.

In a troubling comment to Sports Illustrated, an anonymous NFL personnel assistant stated that football is unprepared for an openly gay athlete, it is “still a man’s-man game,” and that Sam’s presence on the team would “chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”

The fear that Sam would draw unwanted attention to the team is entirely counterintuitive — the progress of openly gay athletes in professional American sports will be the biggest transition since the incorporation of black players into traditionally white leagues. Comments on how unprepared the NFL is for an openly gay player keep the league stuck in a culture of bias.

Luckily, despite the clamor, the NFL will more than likely draft Michael Sam next season. He was heralded as one of the best Southeastern Conference players last year, and, unlike Jason Collins, is at his athletic prime.  Although his draft stock may go down, it will only reflect negatively on those NFL officials who refuse to dig their heads out of the sand and realize that any game, even a “man’s-man game,” can and will include stellar athletes who just so happen to be gay.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 11 print edition. Nina Golshan is a deputy opinion editor. Email her at ngolshan@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next