ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) — Quick, name a player who is on a National Football League practice squad other than Michael Sam. Unless you are a professional football geek, or a player from your college alma mater is on a 10-member scout squad, you don’t know any.
Now ask yourself this question, “Why do you know Michael Sam?” It is because he publically announced his homosexual lifestyle following his senior season at the University of Missouri. It was reported that Sam told his teammates prior to the beginning of the 2013 season.
I submit to you if Sam were heterosexual, most of America would not know his name. The news would not track his progress and, of course, no activist organization would trumpet his story. If it were not known he is homosexual, you certainly would not know that the Dallas Cowboys recently placed Sam on their practice squad after he was released by the St. Louis Rams.
Sam is not really to blame for all the hoopla. He is just being used by those who want to promote the notion that homosexuality is natural, normal and healthy.
Sam was taken by St. Louis in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft. He was the 249th player selected. While he did have a stellar career at Missouri, many pro football experts believed his size, speed and overall ability were not NFL caliber.
Some have suggested that Sam was not selected higher in the draft because of his homosexuality. They cite his success at the collegiate level as proof that he was worthy of a higher position in the draft. Those who choose to believe this simply do not understand the level of talent required to succeed in the NFL.
Consider that many Heisman Trophy winners have not found success in the NFL, including Troy Smith (2006), Matt Leinart (2004), Eric Crouch (2001), Chris Weinke (2000), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Gino Torretta (1992).
While most Heisman winners are drafted and given an opportunity at becoming a pro, not all are picked by an NFL team. Jason White, the 2003 Heisman winner, was not drafted. Unlike Sam, White was not even signed to a practice squad.
Let me throw some other names at you: Jeremy Vujnovich, Kyle Miller and Chris Greenwood. If they don’t ring a bell, that’s okay. They are three players who played at NCAA Division III colleges who were recently signed to the practice squads of the Green Bay Packers, the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings, respectively.
NCAA Division III athletes do not receive athletic scholarships. These three players came out of the obscurity of Louisiana College, Mount Union University and Albion College and earned their way onto NFL practice squads.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen if any of these three DIII players announced they were transgender. They would likely become a household name over the course of a weekend.
The Daily Caller, an Internet news website, reported, “According to NBC’s Peter King and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, NFL officials called teams around the league to gauge interest in signing Michael Sam to their practice squad.”
If it is true that NFL officials solicited teams to pick up Sam after he was released by the Rams, then it is more proof there are those in American culture, including the NFL, that want homosexuality accepted as natural, normal and healthy.
According to a St. Louis radio station, the Cowboys had to bump a player from their practice squad to add Sam. KMOX reported on its website, “Dallas made room for him [Sam] on the 10-player practice squad by releasing rookie linebacker Will Smith.”
It seems the main reason Sam was picked up by Dallas is that he is the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.
Perhaps the NFL wants Sam to succeed so he will be the token homosexual that keeps activists from labeling the league as homophobic, which seems to be the worst label one can be tagged with these days.
Until Sam came along, the average fan did not know who was on their team’s practice squad. Many did not even know such a squad existed.
A practice squad helps active players by emulating the formations and plays of upcoming opponents. They are used, in part, so active players do not get hurt. In short, while practice squad players provide a valuable service, they are, for the most part, expendable.
If you watch the Dallas Cowboys play San Francisco on Sunday, don’t bother looking for Sam on the sideline. Practice squad players don’t suit up for games. However, I do expect his name to come up, because he has proclaimed he is homosexual.
If the so-called homosexual rights movement was truly about equality, you would have never heard of Michael Sam. If this situation were only about football, he would be just another young player toiling in obscurity on a practice squad trying to make it in the NFL.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).