Our country has come a long way in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1920, women gained the right to vote. In 1954, the segregation of public schools was ended. The passion and sacrifice of past individuals such as Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy are evident in our society today.
Across our country, the Civil Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is slowly experiencing a paradigm shift. State by state, legal equality for the LGBT community is taking place, particularly in the laws pertaining to marriage.
The LGBT community is not something new. These individuals have always been a part of society, but rarely acknowledged for their existence. As brave LGBT folks step forward and publicly embrace their identity, they are paving the way for others in the community to follow.
Michael Sam is a draft pick for the NFL from the Missouri Tigers. He was the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year. In February, he revealed in an ESPN interview he was gay.
It’s February. The NFL draft start’s May 1st. Michael Sam could have easily waited until after the draft to publicly reveal his sexuality. He chose differently.
The way the NFL is reacting, he may as well have announced the world was ending. A selection of NFL General Managers, who will not reveal their names, unlike Michael Sam, are already saying he will not get picked due to his sexuality.
They justify this by saying having a gay man in an NFL locker room will interfere with the harmony of the team. If this is true, then the NFL needs to take a lesson from Michael Sam’s Tiger teammates. They were aware of his sexuality and were extremely supportive.
The NFL is not ready for an openly gay man in their midsts. They are overdue. Long overdue.
There are over 1,600 players in the NFL. Do the NFL GM’s who have concerns about having a gay man in their locker room really think Michael Sam is the first? Deion Sander’s, a seasoned NFL player, said there has been gay men on every team he has been on.
What does it say about an organization whose members have included a player who beat a woman and drug her out of her house by her hair, kill people while driving drunk, use illegal drugs and prostitutes, raped someone and paid them to go away, lied to police to cover up a murder, but don’t think they are ready for a player who loves another man?
The NFL needs to catch up with the rest of society. First, people weren’t comfortable with black players. Then, people weren’t comfortable with a black quarterback. Get over yourselves, whether you understand the differences or not.
I pray with my whole heart an NFL team out there will base their decision on choosing Michael Sam as part of their team based on his athletic ability and not his sexuality. The draft will tell if there is a team with as much courage as Michael Sam.
Being a woman who has a disability, I’m a double minority. I fight for equality all the time. In the workplace, women make 70% of the salary a man makes for the same job. The ADA, designed to help disabled people receive accommodations of equality, is a poorly written document and not enforced in society.
People should be judged on the content of their moral character… Not on their sexuality, or the color of their skin, or the basis of their religion. As individuals, we need the courage for our voice to be heard when we experience injustices, and embrace who we are. That is the only way society will come to accept and accommodate everyone.