Michael Sam has taken not only the NFL but the world of sports by storm since he made his historic announcement and came out Sunday evening. He is poised to become the first active openly gay athlete in one of the major four men’s sports. Sure, other former athletes or end-of-the-line athletes have come out, but no one with as much at stake as Sam, who is just hoping to start his career.
A lot has been made of Sam’s draft stock, with a lot of anonymous GM’s speculating that Sam’s stock might have dropped or that he might be a distraction in an NFL locker room. Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery has taken the other tack, releasing a statement on Sam:
“Michael stated with great poise and confidence who he is as a person and football player and I have tremendous respect for him in the way he conveyed his thoughts and the courage it took to state them publicly,” Emery said in a statement.
“Each and every player in the NFL is a unique individual, as we all are in life. We all ultimately gain respect in our jobs by how well we perform at our chosen profession and if the level in which we perform adds positively to the collective goal of success. Michael stated this and I agree with his thoughts, it is about his skill set as a football player to add positively to a team’s goals and that’s how he will be evaluated.”
That statement is so Phil. You’ve got to commend him for putting his name on it and not hiding in the shadow of anonymity.
With regard to Sam, we’ll see what happens at the Combine, but I’m afraid he’s another undersized DE/OLB tweener that the Bears have in surplus. From what I’ve read, he’s not necessarily a good fit in the 4-3 scheme the Bears run. If they were to go to more of a hybrid scheme, he might make a little more sense.