Michael Sam came out to the world the other day. To most, not a big deal, and he was widely praised for the decision. But it was a different story for the men who hide deep in the recesses of NFL corporate offices, who expressed their deep, deep concern about potential locker room distractions. Not that you heard that from them, mind you. Peter King dutifully protected the anonymity of those execs, and was subsequently ripped by his readers. So, naturally, he felt the need to address and then dismiss their concerns in his most recent mailbag.
SAM IS GETTING A RAW DEAL. At what point do the comments about Michael Sam from NFL GMs and scouts constitute employment discrimination? These men are saying that Sam’s prospects will be diminished or he might not be hired simply and solely because he is openly gay.
Well said, Terry in Seattle. Surely good ‘ol lefty Peter King wouldn’t carry water for a corporate fatcat who wants to make bigoted comments behind a veil of anonymity to avoid a total media shitstorm?
There are 32 independent football companies in the NFL, and they can choose who they want in the draft and in free agency. I think there’s a difference between a football team and, say, corporate America.
NFL teams are free to choose who they want, unlike corporate America, where employees are foisted on them by Obama.
If a football team rates defensive end John Doe as a near equal to Michael Sam in the draft, and they’re both on the board when the team picks in the fifth round, and the team knows John Doe comes without all the attention Sam will bring, there’s a good chance that team is going to pick John Doe over Sam. You might not like it, I might not like it. But I think for most teams, that’s the truth.
TOTALLY different from corporate America, in that I replaced “company” with “team” and “hire” with “pick.”
THESE GENERAL MANAGERS STINK. Hard to believe that a GM would say that Sam ‘is not a very good player,’ and combined with that assessment and ‘locker room’ issues, conclude he will not be drafted. I’d like to know where the GM’s team has finished the last few years and how’s his draft record.
YOU WATCH YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH JIM. These are Peter’s FRIENDS you’re talking about! How else is, uh, “Jerry R.” from “North Carolina” going to express his opinions on gay players without him?
He’s just a general manager with an opinion.
LAST TIME I CHECKED, OPINIONS WERENT ILLEGAL IN MURICA
Not saying he’s right or he’s wrong. Just saying if you take the typical mid-round pick in this draft, I could find 10 teams whose GM would say, “We don’t like him. He’s overrated. We have very little interest in him.”
“Also, he’s gay. He’d gay up my locker room by demanding matching urinal cakes and by using shampoo AND CONDITIONER like some queer. He’d probably even repeat after rinsing. Don’t want my bigoted jocks feeling uncomfortable by someone different.”
SAM COULD BE AN ADVANTAGE TO SOME TEAMS. Virtually every reporter seems to think that Michael Sam’s draft prospects will be hurt by his decision to come out of the closet. However, no one has considered whether certain teams will draft him higher due to the positive attention that he would bring to the team. Do you think the positive support and new fans in cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, New York, etc. would outweigh the fans that quit watching the team if one of those teams drafted him? Further, even if the fan support is not initially positive, as an owner you would be making history on a civil rights issue. I’m not saying that any team should draft him higher than he deserves based on talent, but if two prospects were equal on their boards in the third or fourth round, do you think certain teams might give the tiebreaker to Sam to make history and generate some positive support for their team?
—Steve, Baton Rouge, La.
I SHOULD NOT PRINT ANONYMOUS RIPS. I’ve been a long-time reader of your MMQB column and normally I find it a fun and interesting read every Monday. This morning I was really disappointed in your decision to print opinions and musings of a handful of cowardly NFL GMs and personnel men.
Well what the fuck do you know? Peter doesn’t get served lobster in the press box and get smiley faces via text from Scott Pioli by ripping crusty old white men. That’s an AMATEUR journalist move.
If these people don’t have the guts to put their names behind their words, you shouldn’t be printing them. After the bravery and maturity that Michael Sam showed by coming out on Sunday, I think it does a disservice to him and the larger discussion of LGBT players in the NFL to let those with bigoted opinions hide behind a veil of anonymity. Although you claimed in your column that you did this to give the best possible information, I don’t see how this information could possibly be even considered ‘good.’ Which team has bigot for a GM? We won’t find out from your article because you let these cowards hide. That whole section seems to be more to drive page views than provide any useful information and it really makes me rethink spending any time on your website.
Oof. Justin brings the HEAT. Your move, PK.
Justin, I totally understand your frustration. I received hundreds of similar responses. All I can say is this: I’ve been covering the NFL for nearly 30 years.
Ballwashing is an ART, he’ll have you know.
I want to give readers as accurate a picture of what real people in the NFL are thinking, as pleasant or unpleasant as it may be.
If NFL execs can’t funnel their bigotry through Peter without fear of backlash, who can they turn to? Answer THAT, Justin. Now if you’ll excuse him, Peter has a lobster to attend to.