To whom it may concern…

Dear Michael Sam,

I understand why your coming out of the closet prior to the NFL draft is such a big deal in the eyes of the media. I also understand how monumental a moment this will become in history. But you know what I don’t understand is why people keep asking if “teams will pass on you” or “if you will work in an NFL locker room.”

There is no way a talent like yourself will not make an NFL roster, but the fact that people have even brought up the idea of teams not drafting a legitimate pass rusher because of his sexual orientation is absolutely bizarre to me. I would love to see you play for the team I root for: the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks! I would love to see you play anywhere. And that has nothing to do with sexual preference; it has to do with the fact that you can flat out play football.

No one can argue that you are a talented athlete. Look at that resume; co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, a league-leading 11.5 sacks and a playing style that can fit both a 4–3 and a 3–4 defense in the NFL. Who cares about this media explosion that happened over the last week? You are going to be a solid draft pick somewhere in the third to fifth round for any team that likes winning.

I’ll be honest with you and I’m sure you know this, but there are stupid people in this world. A lot of them go to football games after putting a few drinks down. There are going to be some things said, and most likely it won’t be just from the fans. But what we should be glorifying, instead of asking all these stupid questions about media attention and locker room chemistry, is how brave what you are about to accomplish is. It takes guts to know that it’s not going to be easy every Sunday, but someone’s got to do it first.

So ignore those idiots out there. Don’t let them get under your skin. Instead, let it fuel you. When it comes down to it, you are playing football. And don’t forget, you have a ton of support out there. Heterosexual or homosexual, people are supporting you. Those cries are a lot louder than the negative ones—even when some of the negativity comes from your father. If he isn’t extremely proud of the courage it took for you to be the one who blazed this trail then to hell with him. You’re clearly strong enough to do this without his support. It’s his loss.

Ultimately, I want to thank you for being at the center of a monumental moment in sports. We live in a time where the U. S. is starting to change its mind on gay rights issues. Finally, right? It took long enough. But sports have been so far behind. It’s 2014 and really, an active NFL player hasn’t come out as gay yet? Those are some pretty big rosters. Anyway, I’m glad you feel good enough about yourself and the people around you to do so. Sports are about coming together. Can we truly come together if athletes are afraid to be who they are?

You will be a mentor for a lot of people. You are making history. Now go prove everyone out there wrong who questions if this is okay or not. Show that sports are an area where people don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff. They shouldn’t have to worry about it in the real world, so why should they have to worry about it in the best escape from reality we know of?

And come on, NFL. If you can let Michael Vick play and be a part of the locker room, you can let Michael Sam play. Good luck man. Have a great career.

Alex Moore
Vanguard SportsDesk