I guess there’s no time like the present.
At first, I thought he was running a Jason Collins style scam, i.e. pretend to be gay in a cynical attempt to augment his professional athletic career. (Note to peanut gallery: You should notice when Collins “announced” that he is “gay” relative to his career arc, the auspicious lack of ex-boyfriends gossiping about his bedroom talents, and the fact that his long time fiancee, a woman, hint hint, was totally shocked when he “came out,” when women pick up on this kind of stuff way ahead of the curve.)
Then I got back to the salt mines last night. Like I said in my morning update, people involved in Missouri state government, both elected and unelected, are heavily Mizzou alumni, and of course Mizzou is just a hop skip and a jump away. So any big news out of Mizzou is going to be the talk of this town during the legislative session. When ESPN scooped everyone to expose the school’s cover-up of football players raping a swimmer, that’s all this town could talk about.
And now that the world media is about to be camped out in Columbia, of course this news is setting this ordinarily sleepy river town on fire and turning it upside down.
That said, people talk, and word gets around.
Contra my initial suspicion, Mr. Sam is very likely authentically LGBTQMIAPDLOLPLPLTH. Because his sexual orientation has been something of a semi-open secret in certain circles up in Columbia for most of the last year. And he came out to his coaches and teammates before the start of this season. Only now is he coming out for everyone else.
Still, why now? Why the timing?
Maybe he thinks he’s goosing his draft position.
The problem is, like I’ve been saying in this space for a long time, the problem for the first one won’t be his teammates, won’t be the locker room, but the media. I think the same media who think they’re helping gay men high level professional athletes and helping their cause are actually hurting them, by rattling the sabres and promising a media circus around whoever the first will be. If you’re in the NFL right now and expect to be at least through next season, and you’re actually gay, are you going to come out and have a good chunk of the world’s media ganged up around your locker after every game to ask you questions about sex but never about your job? But for the media’s obsession with gay gay gay gay gay, I think we would already have had some come out of the closet.
Thirty-two NFL GMs running up to the draft in early May now realize that they’re going to be drafting a media circus far more than a future linebacker (I’ll get to that in a moment) if they select Sam. If he thinks he was helping his draft status, I think he did just the opposite.
Here’s another problem for Sam: He played DE at Mizzou, but he’s undersized and underweight to play DE in the NFL, so he’ll probably be moved to LB. But there’s a really long list of these very kind of men who washed out in the NFL trying to make the transition. Maybe Sam senses this coming and is conveniently pre-creating the homophobia excuse. So this could be another explanation for the timing.
Or here’s another theory: The Olympics, in supposedly anti-gay Russia. Thumbing Vladimir Putin in the eye from ten time zones away.
Whatever the case, turn off the low information sports media if you don’t want to hear about this for the next three months.