The NFL world is largely coming out in support of Michael Sam, who is poised to become the first openly gay NFL player when he’s drafted in April.
The league released a statement saying they admired his “honour and courage.”
There was an outpouring of support on Twitter. Here’s a sampling from past and present players:
I could care less about a man’s sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) February 10, 2014
Live your life however u feel is best, do you. But when it comes to sports ALL we care about is an u play.
— shaun king (@realshaunking) February 10, 2014
Good for Michael Sam. Takes courage for where he is in his career and where we are as a league. I applaud him.
— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) February 10, 2014
Other tweets were supportive, but still problematic. Being gay isn’t a “flaw”:
I respect Michael Sam big step he has made in his life so many people n this world Dat judge who are we to judge we all have flaws n secrets
— Sammy Watkins (@sammywatkins) February 10, 2014
There has also been a backlash against Sam.
Sports Illustrated ran an article full of anonymous NFL sources who say the league isn’t ready for a gay place. One person, an unnamed player personnel assitant, said a gay player would “chemically imbalance” a locker room.
Player Drayton Florence said the same thing:
No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room. At least he’s open with it much respect!
— Agent 29 (@DraytonFlorence) February 10, 2014
The big test will come in April, when Sam is expected to be taken in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft. While he’s not a top prospect, there was zero chance Sam wouldn’t have been drafted before his announcement. If he slides or drops out of the draft completely, it’d be a huge indictment of the NFL.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.