In a departure from Beltway politics, This Week aired a segment today on University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, an NFL prospect who recently came out. The move inspired much discussion in the last week about whether or not the NFL is ready for openly gay players.
“NFL people are risk-averse, at the end of the day,” said Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, who co-wrote a piece with Thayer Evans citing anonymous NFL team executives saying Sam’s announcement would hurt his prospects in the draft. Fellow panelist Cyd Zeigler challenged Thamel on that.
“Why is it that we in the media have brought this struggle to the story?” asked Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com. “There is no evidence that this is going to be a struggle.”
He then questioned whether Sam would really be a liability and suggested that the debate about his potential future in the NFL was a media-driven non-story.
“If a general manager and a coach cannot handle a gay player in the locker room, they should resign,” Zeigler continued. “Not because of social-justice issues, but if that can torpedo your season, you’re not doing your job.”
NFL player Chris Kluwe pushed back on that, suggesting that Sam’s announcement would hurt his prospects.