Considering how many people have come out of the closet in recent years, it’d be easy to shrug at the recent news that University of Missouri football star Michael Sam has announced he’s gay.
Except that Sam is a top NFL draft prospect, and despite its butt-slapping homoerotic culture, the NFL has never had a single openly gay player. Like, the same number of wins the Lions had during that humiliating 2008 season (snap!) or points scored by the Broncos through most of the recent Super Bowl (burn!).
None. Zero. Zilch.
Already, the NFL is super-worried that this news could destroy testosterone levels and prompt players to take up wussy-ass ballet on the field, or something. In reality, Sam's announcement has the potential to alter American opinions on homosexuality in a new -- and significant -- way.
Consider first that pro football is by far the most beloved sport in the country. Next, consider that people from rural areas are both most obsessed with the sport and least likely to favor gay marriage. Add in the fact that simple exposure to an awesome homosexual is the top reason people change their opinion on the issue, and you have the alchemy for a transformation. Basically, homophobes who would rather die than stop watching football will be “forced” to watch a game with an openly gay player, will see that said player is normal/scores points, and will start to come around on the whole gay-people-suck thing.
Put another way (because who can resist a groan-worthy football pun?), America has been steadily moving the ball down the field on gay rights for years. This momentous news could help push the movement into the end zone.
Image: Screenshot from video