This week Michael Sam became the Jackie Robinson of football. He is likely to be the first admittedly gay person to be drafted into the NFL. While Jackie Robinson could not hide who he was, a black man, Michael Sam could have simply played football and kept his sexual orientation to himself. What Michael Sam did was brave to the nth degree. That he did it right before potentially being drafted is even braver.
According to The Huffington Post former NFL head coach Herm Edwards took exception to this revelation.
During an appearance on ESPN, where Edwards is an analyst, he compared Sam to a player with “off the field” issues and raised concerns about how his teammates might handle the ensuing media firestorm.
“He’s bringing baggage into your locker room,” he said. “Can the players handle the media attention they are going to get, when they get the question asked, ‘are you okay with a gay teammate?'”
Herm Edwards is a black man. Herm Edwards should know better. Was Herm Edwards bringing baggage to the NFL as a black coach? After-all could his race not be a distraction? Has Herm Edwards forgotten that as recent as 2003 the NFL needed the Rooney Rule because of the under-representation of minorities in the NFL? It will interesting to see what card in the future if he is not awarded another head coaching job.
Jon Stewart had a funny but rather telling piece on Michael Sam on his Daily Show. It is worth watching. See it here.
Herm Edwards proves prejudice and intolerance is color blind.
It is ironic that Herm Edwards would use language similar to those objecting to the integration of the military. There is one good specific teaching moment that comes out of the above Herm Edwards statement. While all groups are not privy to privilege, they are all privy to intolerance and prejudice.