Continuing with my months old thoughts, posted far after they were relevant…
This one’s about Michael Sam, the defensive end from Missouri who came out in January(?), and has the potential to become the first active NFLer who is gay, assuming he is drafted in May (oh, he will be drafted).
I have not much to say about the context with which he came out that I didn’t kind of present in my previous post about Jason Collins, posted more relevantly around the time when he came out. It was unsurprising, I applauded it, lamented it didn’t happen sooner, and recognized it as an important first step in the progression of acceptance in american sports.
It was nice to see how accepting his teammates were as well, and how little an impact it made in that locker room.
It was, actually, a little surprising to me though, how unsurprising, or how little (no) shock I felt, when I heard the news. I was not taken aback by his admission as I would have been if he were a more high profile athlete: say, if it were Jadaveon Clowney or Johnny Manziel coming out instead. It’s something I didn’t recognize understand earlier in my life; something that was kind of an epiphany for me now, which is why I wanted to share it.
It used to be, when I found out someone I knew of for a long time (perhaps a famous actor or former associate/classmate) was gay, I would be shocked. I never really knew why I was so shocked when I found those things out – I wouldn’t have a problem with the base fact someone was gay, but something always surprised me when this happened, and, frankly, it would offend me a little bit. I didn’t like that I would be offended because it wasn’t for any sinister reason, but I couldn’t put my finger on why I was offended. With Michael Sam’s admission I believe I figured it out.
It has to do with the idea of being made a fool. Of being lied to. And, most importantly, this is no fault of anyone’s. Because of the world we live in, most people who are gay have to hide this fact from the world until they find a safe enough avenue of revelation. It is not their fault they have to lie – in fact, as I probably have laid out before, it is this world’s fault. Because they have to lie, however, they have to lie to everyone. Which means they would be lying to me as well. Again, I’m not offended by this, because it is no one’s fault (I definitely cannot stress that enough), but I realized that shock I always felt was a small feeling of betrayal from a person I thought I knew. When Michael Sam came out, I had no idea who he was before that; it was the first time I had heard about him. I had found out the truth about him, from him, from the moment I “met” him. Therefore the admission from him that he was gay was not a surprise, and I had no reaction.
Finally I will say – yet again, again – that there is no one at fault here, except for the world we live in. Those who are gay feel forced to keep their secret or else it will be met with negative (kindly put!) consequences. I completely understand why they do what they do – because they feel they have to…and I would do the same thing if I were in their position. I just wanted to explain something I discovered about myself, and since this is my blog, my own little corner of the internet, I’m allowed to do what the fuck I want. So I just did.
And: GO MICHAEL SAM! I hope the Browns draft him (the Browns are my favorite team) and he kicks ass!