First Openly Gay NFL Player Drafted

Carolyn Fenerty, Writer

Michael Sam, who came out as gay earlier this year, has just become the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL.

Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams as the 249th pick of the NFL draft, as a seventh round pick.

“I don’t think a player’s sexuality should be a factor in whether they should get put on a team,” said FHS student Rose Determan.

“I think it’s a factor in who they are, but it doesn’t affect what kind of person they are.”

After hearing that he had been drafted, Sam kissed boyfriend Vito Cammisano, sparking major controversy from within the NFL and from fans of ESPN and other sports networks. Despite many NFL players being shown kissing their girlfriends and wives on TV with no criticism, much of the social media response to the airing of Sam’s kiss has been negative and discriminatory.

When asked about her thoughts on the kiss being aired, Determan thought that a player’s sexuality should be irrelevant. She said:

“[Sexuality] affects them in the same way it affects me that like, I have brown hair. It’s kind of like that. I personally don’t mind it.”

Many of the comments called the kiss “disgusting,” or argued that the idea of homosexuality would be impossible to explain to children.

Derrick Ward, a former Giants player, tweeted his criticism of the kiss and its being aired on national television. Ward later received death threats for the homophobia in his tweets, an extreme response to his opinion.

Don Jones of the Miami Dolphins also tweeted negatively about the airing of the kiss, although the tweets were taken down and the Dolphins reacted quickly.

Reactions were mixed, but Michael Sam’s draft marks not only a great moment for the LGBT movement toward equality and acceptance, but also a great personal moment for a talented athlete beginning his career in professional sports.