Ever since Michael Sam declared he was gay over the weekend, the question in the sports-world is how his sexuality may or may not affect his draft status. For example, Rob Rang at CBS Sports seems to think it will, calling it a ”distraction” teams won’t want:
Sam’s homosexuality isn’t the point. There are gay players in the NFL now and almost surely teammates, coaches and front office executives who know about them. But by coming out, Sam turned a very bright spotlight on himself.
And the reality is teams would rather the bright lights shine on their superstars on game day. Any club drafting Sam would add distractions for players, and teams normally work to avoid any distraction.
I can see Rang’s point, but don’t agree with it. Sam’s sexuality will be a distraction if the people who cover the NFL in the media make it one. Sam told his teammates at Missouri before the season started last year about his sexuality and that didn’t seem to be a distraction to the team, so why would it become one just because he’s now playing in the NFL?
Right now, Sam, according to CBS Sports, is ranked 110 in the draft and the 11th best defensive end in the draft which should make him a third- or fourth-round pick. And as far as I can tell, the only thing that’s dropped Sam’s prospects from a second- or third-round pick was his performance in the Senior Bowl on January 25, not his recent announcement.
Sam’s next big challenge is the NFL combine. His 40 time and his bench-press reps will be much more important than who he dates in determining where he gets drafted.