Michael Sam: Putting the Narcissism in Bravery
This week, everyone is talking about Michael Sam, the first openly gay man drafted into the NFL. And you know what? I think that’s great. Really. I think that if he’s a good football player (and his overall record suggests that he is), then he should be able to play. Why? Because at the end of the day, isn’t it about football? Shouldn’t the concern of any team drafting him be whether or not he can throw, catch, block and run? Whether or not he is a good fit for the team they are trying to build? None of those things are affected by the personal choices he makes in his own bedroom.
However, I do take issue with the people who have taken to social media to wax eloquent about how wonderfully brave Michael Sam was to announce his sexual preference immediately prior to the draft.
Years ago, before the gay lobby that now litigates out of business any who dare raise any opposition to their agenda, that might have been true. Before we had a president whose position on same sex marriage had “evolved,” that might have been true. Before the main stream media (and culture in general) had adopted the mantra “if you don’t endorse same sex marriage 100%, you’re a homophobe who hates gay people,” that might have been true.
But in Michael Sam’s case, the reality is this: his team in Missouri already knew he was gay, and they didn’t care. When he came out publicly, he risked only the high fives, adulation, and fawning received by Ellen Page and NBA player Jason Collins (who, incidentally, also received a presidential phone call). He knew, based on recent media coverage, that the media and general public would quickly punish anyone who dared to criticize him – just look at what happened to Phil Robertson, the Benham brothers, and now Don Whatshisname of the Miami Dolphins – who actually received a fine from the NFL for a 14-letter tweet regarding Sam’s being drafted.
“Bravery” is standing up when you know you will be ridiculed and ostracized. “Narcissism” is doing so when you know you will be praised and held up as an icon. Michael Sam had no reason, in this day and age, to believe that he would be anything other than an icon. “The First Openly Gay Player in the NFL.”
Sorry, but “bravery” is the wrong word in this case.