Few teams are more opened to media hassles than the Dallas Cowboys, and few teams need an edge pass rusher like the Cowboys.
DeMarcus Ware is a candidate to be cut, and Anthony Spencer is going to be a free agent. The Cowboys have a clear need at rush end. Michael Sam is 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, who in the SEC was an All-American.
Sam is talented. And, nothing big here, the University of Missouri All-American defensive end told the New York Times he is gay. What former NBA center Jason Collins did to come out of the closet at the end of his career took courage, but not on this level.
Collins was at the end of his career, and he never found a gig after he came out. Not because he was gay, but because he was finished.
Sam is just about to begin his NFL career, has no idea if he can play in that league. He has no value in the NFL, other than as potential cheap talent. This announcement could potentially torpedo his pro football, six-figure career before it starts.
At a minimum, this changes his draft status, even if it should not. At least according to WalterFootball.com's mock draft, Sam is a second rounder.
Mostly, teams are scared. Sam will be a huge story when he attends the NFL Combine at the end of the month, and you can bet every dollar you have ever seen a lot of those old time scouts and player personnel people will be plenty nervous in the interview room when they ask Sam about this.
They will be scared because of what a gay man in the locker room will do to "team chemistry", but a potentially bigger fear is the media. Sam will be an international story, and every outlet from Ellen to Time to Parade to South Dakota Gay Quarterly will be in rookie training camp to cover this barrier being broken.
Teams all love the money that so much media coverage helps generate, but they hate dealing with the hassle. In the short term, Sam's presence will be a major hassle.
The Cowboys need players, gay or straight. People would be naive to believe even half of the NFL players are going to be cool with this, despite their supportive rhetoric. But much like Jackie Robinson - you have to start somewhere. They'll get over it, and we can move on to the next stupid thing we can't get over.
Michael Sam is the one. He is going to need a team that needs him. The Cowboys need pass rushers. If the Cowboys rate Sam as a second rouder, and he's available, don't be afraid. He's just another gay dude. If he can play, and pressure the passer, that's all that matters. The rest is an excuse.
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