Michael Sam, a trailblazer

Holloway is a senior journalism major from Macon.

Shakeem Holloway

Michael Sam is the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He’s an All-American, a projected NFL fourth-round pick. Oh, and he’s gay.

“I know this is a huge deal, and I know how important this is,” Michael Sam said in an interview with the New York Times.

Sam is right: this is a huge deal, but it shouldn’t be.

Now that he’s come out, Sam’s father Michael Sam Sr. struggles with his son’s sexuality, but he still loves him. And so should you.

I understand some people are apprehensive about the idea of a gay NFL player, but you should be more supportive of the idea of equality than you are apprehensive.

Each and every person on this earth fits into some type of category. Whether you’re a redhead, tall, black, Asian, gay, etc., it doesn’t matter. What matters is your character; what matters is how you treat people and how you respond to the way they treat you.

With his announcement, Sam will become the public figure of the LGBT community in football, whether he realizes it or not.

Some people will adore him; some will hate him; and some will be indifferent. But you should support him on his journey.

Sam is a trailblazer. It takes courage and strength to come out in a profession where the mentality is hyper-masculine – in a sport where brutality and toughness are heralded, especially at Sam’s position.

If the NFL is as homophobic as the world thinks it is, then Sam will have to endure that, and endure he shall. He has a proven track record that he can roll with the punches.

Sam, from Hitchcock, Tx., is one of eight children, and he’s already lived a difficult life. According to the New York Times, Sam has two siblings in jail. One hasn’t been heard from since 1998; one was shot and killed; and his sister drowned when she was just two years old.

“I’m closer to my friends than I am to my family,” Sam said in the NYT interview.

Whether he’ll be accepted or not remains to be seen, but that won’t matter decades from now when the world looks back and sees that Sam was the face that led the charge for the acceptance of homosexuality in the NFL.

Michael Sam wants to put quarterbacks on their butts for a living, and I hope he does it with a smile on his face.