By now most have seen or heard sports coverage about Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL. Sam was seen on the NFL Network and ESPN receiving a phone call from the St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher letting him know the Rams had picked him. Sam’s emotional and moving response was tears of joy immediately followed by kissing and hugging his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano.
Many former and current players applauded Sam, a big accomplishment for anyone. But not everyone was a fan. Miami Dolphins’ defensive back, Don Jones, took to Twitter on Saturday soon after Sam was drafted and tweeted “OMG” and “horrible.” He later deleted the tweets.
The Miami Dolphins reacted swiftly, fining Jones an undisclosed amount and excused him from the team following the critical remarks. Considering how the NBA and the sports media unanimously reacted to Donald Sterling’s racist remarks, it’d be safe to say it would translate here. It seems however, that the sports community is having some difficulty digesting this one.
Many publications have defended Jones, claiming it’s his 1st amendment right to express his opinions and beliefs, some go as far as to saying that this a product of “gay fascism.” Quite an interesting response. Where was all of this rhetoric when Sterling, privately, expressed himself?
The truth of the matter is, yes, Jones is allowed his 1st amendment right to freely express himself. But so do organizations like the NFL, making it known they will not support such views and behavior. Many like to pull the “1st amendment” card when there is a negative reaction to what they say or do, but that’s the risk that is taken when vocalizing beliefs and taking a stance. Not everyone will agree, an experience the gay community is all too familiar.
Congratulations Michael Sam, quite an accomplishment. Be PROUD!