ESPN’s Michael Wilbon: Influence of ‘Religious Right’ in Football Preventing Players from Accepting Michael Sam

by Andrew Johnson

The NFL hasn’t been sufficiently accepting of Michael Sam, who came out as the first openly gay professional football player earlier this year, due to the religious Right’s influence in NFL locker rooms, says one ESPN commentator.

On Tuesday, Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon were discussing former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s recent comments that media attention would have pushed him away from drafting Sam. Kornheiser said he was optimistic that NFL players would be personally tolerant of Sam, though.

“I’m more skeptical,” Wilbon countered. “I think there is a component, a subculture of the religious Right, that is very influential in football — maybe not the other sports, but football — and I don’t see this going as smoothly as you see it.”​