Michael Sam came out publicly on Sunday, likely setting himself to become the first openly gay player in the National Football League. And then a group of league executives reminded everyone why such an announcement probably didn’t happen sooner.
Speaking anonymously to Sports Illustrated, the executives said that the All-American defensive end from Missouri probably hurt his draft stock with his announcement.
“I don’t think football is ready for [an openly gay player] just yet,” an NFL player personnel assistant told SI. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.”
One longtime NFL scout said there’s “no question” the announcement will make teams less apt to select Sam in this year’s draft.
An assistant personnel director said it will take “one confident general manager or head coach” with firm job security to take Sam.