Would you like them here or there?
The story, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, is over sixty years old, but the concept is still relevant in today’s society. An obviously different type of “normality” is applied in current day, but the message is clear — Acceptance.
Former Collegiate All-American and Missouri Tiger Michael Sam officially announced to the world he is a homosexual. The timing of the announcement has created a conversation on the sociological experience of cultural acceptance. Only this is with a professional athlete and the variable is the NFL — which happens to be the most narcissistic subculture in the world. Forced to deal with an issue before you are ready rather it be death, illness, childbirth or relocation; one always has to ask themselves “am I ready.” You can never plan for an unscripted change in life, but the reaction to said change will reveal to the world what you are made of.
The reaction from the league has varied from full acceptance(NFLPA) to it heavily affecting the chemistry of the locker room (Huffington Post) to his draft stock dropping (Chad Johnson). The reality is that a combination of the opinions will be what occurs.
I would not like them here or there I would not like them anywhere.
Like any other job title, obtaining and holding that position depends on production and merit. And While he is just in the beginning stages of the interview process, Sam’s credentials make him more than qualified for the job of NFL player:
Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year
19 Tackles for Loss
Playing for a Top-10 team in a competitive SEC, those stats probably will earn him a draft grade between the 2nd and 4th rounds depending on team needs. The media circus of the NFL seems, at its initial stages of this conversation, to be gun-shy in adding this element into its fold. Most concerns are being linked to the locker room affect from the players, but alot of the hesitation appears to be coming from anonymous execs, who would be responsible for dealing it from a Public Relations point of view.
Would you like them in a house?
In today’s world acceptance and tolerances of differences appear to be at an all time high, but incidents like this, the Richard Sherman interview, Richard Petty’s comments about Danica Patrick and the Marcus Smart/fan incident during the Texas Tech/Oklahoma State college basketball game lead me to believe otherwise. A man’s intestinal fortitude and belief system are tested in difficult times and the NFL is bracing itself for a media jab to the testicles.
This isn’t a bashing session, as some of my previously controversial views have evolved over the years, but I still acknowledge the human element in this story. In big business the human element is rarely part of the equation players and coaches are pawns on the way to the goal of a checkmate in the form of a Championship. The events leading up to the NFL Draft and the upcoming season can determine how much the NFL and sports in general have evolved into the 21st century.
If the sentiments of all parties are satisfied, the NFL will set the curve of how to accept players of every background, which would create a ripple effect throughout sports and the world alike. The power of influence is the most endearing human element in existence and it could cause the NFL and others to change their tone to:
I do like them Sam I am!