In like a Lion...
He wanted to dispose of all the suspected drama, rumors, and vitriol in his own way, and on his own terms. He went public.
Evidently the Sports World was, Largely, Ready for a Same-Gender-Loving (SGL) Male Player
Shocking, to me, was the manner in which so many people, fans, players, and organizations seemed ready to embrace him for his courage, and candor, and achievements. Pushing aside their import, making room for acknowledgement, and evaluation of his ability, over his sexual-makeup. It largely seemed to be a non-issue in broad circles of the industry, and the world.
"I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player, instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player." -Michael Sam
Thrashed in the Combine
The All-American DE, and Player of the Year, is clearly a gifted, heralded, laureled athlete. He was INVITED to Indiana to compete. Evidently, however, he lacked the chops to truly compete with the "big boys" that the league was seeking. His Combine performance (Pre-draft measurables), and his performance result--- bore out that, uncomfortable, truth.
In fairness, it was his output on the day, his tangibles, on the field that determined his deflating desirability, and loss of "heat". It had nothing, whatsoever, to do with his personal preference. Only his ability spoke, on that day, in that moment. There are some who believe that his announcement drew scrutiny which his abilities couldn't eclipse.
Courage -vs- Calculation
I just believe that I would have been more inclined to do the Combine... solidify my place in the draft, discuss my life with the winning bidder(s)/future team, accepted the contract, and then, and only then, with the blessings of my new front-office, revealed my information in order to suck the wind out of the haters, and the shit-stirrers in the media/web universe.
I'd like to believe that I would have been more strategic in my living my truth. Not HIDING, or lying by omission. But, rather, chosing a more strategic game-plan. Under that glaring microscope, who could conceivably focus on output without distraction? Alas, he is only young. And for someone so young, he has been through so much! Bless him!
Everyone Deserves Love
That relationship, if authentic, had to have suffered in some ways, I'd imagine, due to the instantaneous notoriety, and attention. Going from a private citizen to, at once, a role-model, hero, demon, abomination, persona non grata, had to have been chafing in the extreme. If they are a real couple, I certainly, wish them all the very best!
Into the Future
I submit that the combine experience should be considered a positive critique of his abilities, at the moment, and to what he should aspire. I say that the time is just fine to stop the gay-block in athletics, thanks in large part, to Mr. Sam, for his saying the word aloud, and "calling a thing, a thing"! It's the twenty-first century, for the love of cleats! And, quiet as it's kept, there have been gay players in professional sport, since the invention of sport. GOOGLE it! And here.
I strongly believe that he, and his perfect team/family will find each other. I believe that he will put in the work to get to where he needs to be. I believe that he will make a positive, lasting, impact on the sport, and in history. I believe he will get his Superbowl ring! Sooner, than later!
MORE WILL BE REVEALED ON MAY 8th, 9th, and 10th, Y'all!!!!!!!!!
Any old time you'd like the musings, and counsel, of an old, grouchy, grumpy, LGBT man... feel free to look me up! Give me a call. I'm a great listener, and I'm rumored to give pretty good advice! My very first, UNSOLICITED, bit of advice???
Take your time, and do it right, Mr. Sam! There is a place for you at the table! In the industry, and in history... though I'm SO bloody relieved that whom an athlete chooses to love, is rapidly becoming less, and less, important! Bon Chance!