If you play it, they will come.

You know, as much as we fans tut-tut college and pro teams excusing player misconduct and as much as we like to hope that there’s at least a sense of shame in giving out second chances, the reality is that if someone guilty of bad behavior can play, some team is going to find a place for him.

Now coming out?  That’s different.

71 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment

71 responses to “If you play it, they will come.

  1. heyberto

    Honest question, and no snark intended. What is the consensus on Michael Sam’s ability to be a player in the NFL? Is it a situation where he’s proven that he can’t make it or is it really looking like he’s being held out because of his sexual orientation?

    I’d like to think if he’s good enough, he’d get a chance, if I’m a GM or owner trying to make player moves, it wouldn’t stop me if he’s good enough, and in today’s world I’d hope that most teams would be trying to do the same as well…. but I know that could be false. Is there fear of how it’ll affect the team/locker room?

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    • Bulldawg165

      the linked article makes a pretty good case that he is good enough

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    • DawgPhan

      Every SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Sam won the award) was selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Sam was selected in the 7th?

      Most of them stuck in the NFL for quite a while.

      2014 Shane Ray* Missouri 45 Solo, 16 Ast, 14.0 Sk
      2013 Michael Sam* Missouri 31 Solo, 17 Ast, 11.5 Sk
      2012 Jarvis Jones* Georgia 52 Solo, 33 Ast, 14.5 Sk, 1 Int
      2011 Morris Claiborne* LSU 32 Solo, 19 Ast, 0.0 Sk, 6 Int
      2010 Patrick Peterson* LSU 29 Solo, 13 Ast, 0.0 Sk, 4 Int
      2009 Rolando McClain* Alabama 53 Solo, 52 Ast, 4.0 Sk, 2 Int
      2008 Eric Berry Tennessee 7 Att, 37 Yds, 5.3 Avg, 0 TD
      2007 Glenn Dorsey* Louisiana State 34 Solo, 35 Ast, 7.0 Sk, 0 Int
      2006 Patrick Willis Mississippi 87 Solo, 50 Ast, 3.0 Sk, 0 Int
      2005 Demeco Ryans* Alabama 41 Solo, 35 Ast, 5.0 Sk, 1 Int
      2004 David Pollack* Georgia
      2003 Chad Lavalais* Louisiana State 1 Int, -5 Yds, 0 TD

      http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/awards/sec-dpoy.html

      Demeco Ryans was a 2nd round pick and Chad Lavalais was a 5th. The rest are 1st round picks.

      Shane Ray is projected as a 1st round pick.

      Both he and Sam won Def. POY, both are from Missouri. Similar stats, both are 6-3 250.

      So sure seems like the NFL found a place for every other player like him and continues to find places for players like him, but can’t seem to figure out a place for Sam. Strange.

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    • heyberto

      Well, you’ve all sold me.. he should be playing for somebody. The optimist in me thought this has to be a Tebow situation.. where the player is a hard worker, a great college player, but not quite NFL ready. I’m genuinely shocked that there weren’t more teams to step up for him.

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  2. Ain’t it the truth

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  3. And the reality is that many NFL teams (as well as many, many college ones) have had and currently have gay men on their roster. If I remember correctly, Sam’s coming out wasn’t a big surprise to last year’s Missouri team. But what this is doing is telling those players that if they think they have a chance at the pro level and want the money to reward their skills and years of hard work, they better stay in the closet.

    That’s a sad commentary.

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    • John

      I’m willing to bet if Sam had just come out and NOT tried to get a reality show,etc. that he could have more chances. He still wouldn’t be treated equally, but he would not have been shut out.

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      • Yes, because if there’s one thing the NFL won’t tolerate, it’s a player trying to grab attention for himself.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          Well, in fairness, its one thing if a top athlete engages in self-aggrandizing, look at me behavior; its quite another for a borderline prospect like Sam to do the same. As various NFL GM’s have opined, someone of Sam’s caliber (borderline NFL size/talent) should be spending every waking moment trying to better himself, and not discussing reality show ideas with Oprah and the like, which takes focus away from his ultimate task at hand.

          Especially when your combine performance was borderline horrific to begin with, which put you in a really deep hole.

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            With that said, I’d hope that no NFL team would engage in prejudice behavior due to his sexual orientation. Though some teams might, the better run franchises almost certainly are run on a meritocracy type structure.

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          • Cojones

            Reading the article, how can you not see that he continues to strive for the NFL? He could be doing daily reality shows. The author noted that he has continually turned down media and other offers to continue on his path of his first love – the NFL.

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          • Kroy Biermann

            Totally agree with you. No room for NFL players on Bravo.

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      • If only that Deion Sanders didn’t bring a ton of attention to himself that was non-football related….

        If only that Peyton Manning didn’t consider himself such a damn glory boy for accepting all that money for commercials and appearing in them…

        If only EVERY OTHER FOOTBALL PLAYER THAT HAS EVER CASHED IN ON HIMSELF…..

        Why do you suspect those fellas weren’t “shut out”?

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        • Bulldawg165

          3rdandG pretty much answered this above already, but if you think Peyton Manning and Michael Sam is an apples to apples comparison then I don’t know what to say. Let me be clear: I think Sam got the short end of the stick. However, let’s not pretend that he (or many other players for that matter) gets or even deserves the same leeway with off-the-field attention seeking that a player of Manning’s or Sanders’ talent has earned.

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          • Nobody’s equating their talent or on-field achievements. I’m pointing out the straw man in the argument that a player has been shut out because he tried to earn for himself off the field when numerous players do it. Debate all day you want that his talent wasn’t there or he was a borderline prospect to begin with (I find this slightly laughable when you look at the list of SEC DPOY that DawgPhan posted up there), but get out of here with this BS that him trying to cash in on himself is what is holding him back. Johnny Manziel hasn’t accomplished a damn thing in the league, but is cashing in on himself big time off the field. You don’t see the Browns cutting ties with him because of it.

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            • Bulldawg165

              “Debate all day you want that his talent wasn’t there or he was a borderline prospect to begin with”

              I never said anything even remotely close to this. One can be a good prospect but still be either unproven (as most rookies are) or not have talent on the same level as Manning.

              “Johnny Manziel hasn’t accomplished a damn thing in the league, but is cashing in on himself big time off the field”

              Honest question: What is Johnny Manziel doing to cash in off the field?

              Plus, if Sam really did seek a reality show, something that even a proven talent (and not prospective) like T.O. paid the price for doing, then that explains a lot.

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      • Union Jack

        “I dislike players who call attention to themselves for off the field activities like having their own reality show”said NONE of the coaches who recruited Cordell Broadus.

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  4. Not to change the subject but being gay may not be the only issue that the NFL has a problem with:

    http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2014/2/12/5401774/myron-rolle-profile-florida-state-football-nfl-rhodes-scholar

    What I think is at play is less bigotry and more bottom line thinking. The risk in being different is the risk that you’ll cost somebody money. Given the minuscule difference between Sam and Rolle and others who want the job and who aren’t different so why take a chance with a dollar? The NFL when it comes to players is a heartless bottom line business. When it comes to each other, ie how the teams treat each other, it’s total socialism. That’s the way the world works these days. Socialism for those at the top and cold free market capitalism for the bottom. IAG is too big to fail so here’s a bunch of tax payer money to save you from your errors. I guarantee your sorry ass ain’t and you’ll pay dearly for your errors in judgment like choosing to be different. Wear the uniform, throw that right hand up and pointed high and goose step with everyone else. You’ll go far.
    You have the freedom to do as we tell you!

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    • DawgPhan

      It’s not bigotry, it’s capitalism.

      lol

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      • Mayor

        Not capitalism, which is free-market. More like economic fascism, based on the analysis stated above

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        • Exactly. Economic fascism we are told is free market. Think about it this way:

          An NFL player has to win his job every year on a team that wants to replace him with a better player if they can find one. Think about that. Every year you have to win your job in an environment where the goal is to get a better player at your position. That’s free market and that’s why the NFL plays the best football. Those guys livelihoods depend upon their productivity. This is one of the reasons that the talented spoiled ones wash out to be replaced by hard working mature grinders.

          Do you think for a minute that the rich want to be subject to the horrors of a free market economy? Hell no. Won’t ever happen.

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    • Russ

      Yeah, the Myron Rolle story is probably stranger than Michael Sams’. Both just reinforce what a hidebound institution the NFL is, though. One of the reasons I like college is that you can usually find a school and position for pretty much anyone, including characters like Mike Leach or Orgeron.

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  5. Is anyone really surprised by this? As much as America likes to think it is progressive on this front, there are still plenty of Americans who are still “in the closet” in working environments far more evolved and educated than the average NFL locker room.

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  6. I never understood the Incognito thing. Football players…being BULLIES?!? Get right out of town!

    That is their job. If you are so sensitive that you need to tattle to the NFL that you are being bullied…maybe professional football is just not for you. Maybe the other guy should look into becoming a barista, a dog walker, or maybe teach a couples pottery class. Sweet Lord–just HTFU and enjoy making your millions. Ugh.

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    • The language in this video is inappropriate…

      Spot on Brevin.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Well, in Incognitos’ case, he went way, way overboard. Including constant hazing off the field as well. Bulling in the locker room or on the field is one thing, but some of the crap he pulled off of it was really bad.

      With that said, I’d be far more likely to give him a second chance at redemption than Ray Rice.

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  7. Cojones

    Zeigler does good research to answer all follow up bigotry questions. He covers the articulatory loopholes. It’s a crafted article by someone who has suffered the same slings and arrows, even more, he puts himself in the locker room with nude bodies that many think only can appeal to the prurient interest of a gay person, but shows the folly of such thinking.

    Hope Sam heads for the CFL, and soon, to work himself back towards the NFL similar to Warren Moon (God, he could throw a football pass) and the path of eye-opening work he performed. Don’t get me wrong, the stats produced in the article screams that Sam should be on an NFL team right now.

    Funny how an article like this can make you question utterances we make when we are in “good-ole-boy conversations” down here. “Cocksucker”, a favorite, will be a word of disdain that I will struggle to prevent escaping my lips from now on and “assholery” may take it’s place. They carry the same connotation, but the first word is too insensitive in today’s open society. Right now I’m resisting a temptation to try and regale you in laughter by comparing many of the words that Lenny Bruce found so useful in public and that I admired (an Army experience can enhance the appreciation of expression when you consider your effort is to promote free speech such that you could kill someone for their not allowing it) because sounds of words heard before hurt no one. Now it depends on their usage and appreciating they are hurtful in some areas. Doesn’t mean they aren’t uttered in public, but are more carefully chosen as to circumstance, unlike many movies where cuss words are used “because they can”.

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  8. AlphaDawg

    So let me get this straight, Sam’s has borderline NFL talent was drafted late, failed to catch on at 2 separate teams, in a league with strict limits on the number you can have on your team and practice squad and it has to do with his sexuality? So whats the reason so many 1st (looking at Manziel) and 2nd round draft picks with borderline talent who doesn’t make it in the league after 1 or 2 seasons?

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    • DawgPhan

      Debatable if he has borderline talent. He probably is a good bit better than borderline. He was drafted late because of bigotry.

      He didnt catch on because of bigotry.

      The answer you are looking for is that the nfl is filled with bigots that make decisions based on race, creed, and sexual orientation.

      If Brady came out today and announced he was gay, but was still a 6th round QB, think he has 4 super bowl rings?

      I don’t.

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      • AlphaDawg

        So if he was drafted in the 3rd round and failed to make two separate teams, its because of bigotry as well?

        National Football Post has IMHO one of the best rating/grading systems evaluating talent prior to the draft. It had Sam as the 20th best OLB in the class, graded at a C, which is essentially a late 5th to 7th round developmental player. A throw away pick. Which means he has borderline NFL talent.

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        • DawgPhan

          That’s fair.

          So here are the 12-25th ranked OLB according to NFP.

          12 Christian Kirksey OLB, Iowa 6’2″ 235 6.4 Browns
          13 Boseko Lokombo OLB, Oregon 6’3″ 226 6.4 CFL
          14 Aaron Lynch OLB, South Florida 6’6″ 244 6.4c 49ers
          15 Morgan Breslin OLB, USC 6’2″ 250 6.4 49ers
          16 Jackson Jeffcoat OLB, Texas 6’4″ 245 6.4 Redskins
          17 Ronald Powell OLB, Florida 6’4″ 244 6.4 Saints
          18 Tyler Starr OLB, South Dakota 6’2″ 223 6.4 Falcons
          19 James Gayle OLB, Virginia Tech 6’3″ 268 6.4 Redskins
          20 Michael Sam OLB, Missouri 6’5″ 255 6.4 ?
          21 Colton Underwood OLB, Illinois State 6’4″ 255 6.3 ?
          22 Mike Cole OLB, Maine 6’2″ 250 6.3 ?
          23 Adrian Hubbard OLB, Alabama 6’5″ 252 6.3 packers
          24 Xavius Boyd OLB, Western Kentucky 6’2″ 230 6.3 Bills
          25 Howard Jones OLB, Shepherd 6’3″ 235 6.3 Steelers

          All but 3 of them are under contract with a professional football team.

          Sam is not. As are 2 “borderline” guys from Maine and Illinois State. Remember that Sam recorded 11.5 sacks in his senior year and was the Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC. Not Ronald Powell, or Adrian Hubbard, who also played in the SEC. Morgan Breslin hadnt played a full season in 2 years when he was drafted.

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          • Biggus Rickus

            His college stats are irrelevant. He was considered borderline, and he and two other borderline guys are currently not on any kind of roster. It seems to me the writer reached his conclusion and then sought reasons to support it. They are not definitive proof of anything. It’s possible that Sam is being blackballed because he is gay. It is also possible that he did not display enough ability in his stints with the Rams and Cowboys for anyone else to be willing to take a shot on him. Or it could be some combination of his homosexuality and his lack of ability.

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            • Cojones

              D POY in the SEC? Lack of ability? If he wore a UGA uni, how would you feel about it? Maybe we could ask Mizzou fans’ opinion.

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              • Biggus Rickus

                Being a good college player does not always mean someone will be a good pro. There’s a reason he was a seventh round pick, and it’s not because he was gay. At least, it isn’t solely because of that. He may have fallen from 5th to 7th due to that. Or he may not have. You think NFL teams would care if they thought he could give them 10.5 sacks a season?

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                • DawgPhan

                  The problem with your argument is that any amount of consideration given to his sexual orientation is wrong.

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  I agree that his homosexuality shouldn’t be a factor. I am also not convinced that it has been.

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                • Cojones

                  Stacking him up against other players at that position would refute the drop from 5th to 7th round. Because a player is taken that late doesn’t mean he can’t outperform others on the field in the NFL. The author demonstrated that with his stats.

                  Perhaps Dawg Phan and I were overly impressed with the author’s reasoning, but what hit me between the eyes was that a young man’s life, hard work and performance has been downgraded for no other apparent reason than sexual preference.

                  Does kissing a white guy sorta make you cringe also?

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  So because I find the argument unconvincing, I must be a homophobe. Sigh.

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                • Cojones

                  I don’t think labels help much, especially since I could be labeled fairly accurately in some’s labeling estimation as a pot-smoking bleedin’ ass liberal. At an earlier time in my life, the converse could have been labeled.

                  My hopes, and I think others here share that hope, is that we all can embrace the new age and social lessons of a modern age as freely and openly as our children and grandchildren will.

                  My arguments have been along the lines that support most of my reasoning in life. Humans don’t usually say or write observations that don’t. When we defensively try to verify those facts that validate our reasoning, it is in an effort to seek company, not push anyone away. I don’t think your arguing points or reasoning label you as a homophobe. A hard-headed asshole, yes, but not a homophobe.

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                • Bulldawg165

                  “Does kissing a white guy sorta make you cringe also?”

                  Uncalled for Cojones. I was actually enjoying the debate until that part.

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                • Cojones

                  You’re correct. It was my inner racial homophobia surfacing. But I do sorta wonder how the question was answered in the minds that read it.

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                • Dog in Fla

                  If the Fräulein crying at 2:55 can get over it, so can you 🙂

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                • Cojones

                  Hilarius! You outdone yo’self. Watched it twice.

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            • Cojones

              Yep, it’s possible, but highly improbable. You could also throw the “reasoning” in that the article was slanted because the author is also homosexual, but I considered that and the stats remain the same. Is he cherry picking the stats? Sure, that’s what you do when you consider candidates. If you dwell on anyone’s failures, no one would play in the NFL. If you want to drive a hole in the author’s argument, go after the faults in his personnel comparisons. I couldn’t find any that would cause me to think any way other than where the author led me.

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              • Biggus Rickus

                You seem to think college stats matter, which is what the bulk of the argument rested upon. In terms of NFL ability, it does not matter at all whether Sam played in the SEC or the Mountain West. He had a terrible showing at the combine, where all of his measurables were substandard. If one wanted to make the argument that Sam is being treated differently than other late round picks, it would make more sense to compare him to other late round picks, not SEC Defensive Players of the Year. I don’t have the time to go through all of them right now, but I expect many of them follow Sam’s career trajectory pretty closely.

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                • DawgPhan

                  Of course I just did that a few posts above. Players rated similarly pre-draft. Most are on teams. He is not.

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  3 of them are in the exact same position as Sam. What about 7th round picks in 2013? 2012? There are years and years worth of flyer picks. What happened to all of them?

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  Sorry, Sam was the 3rd. So out of the 13 players listed, 3, including Sam, are not on teams. So how uncommon is Sam’s experience? In that sample, it represents 23%.

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                • Cojones

                  . Read what his stats were in his preseason games with the Rams. The author compares those separately to refute the “college stats ain’t the NFL” reasoning.

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                • Biggus Rickus

                  I did read it. His preseason stats may indicate something, or they may indicate nothing. He wasn’t going up against starting tackles. I’m not arguing that being gay has had no impact his career thus far. I just don’t think that the article proves anything. It’s a one-sided look with cherry-picked stats. Unless you already agree with the premise, I don’t think it’s compelling.

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        • Cojones

          AD, did you read all of what Zeigler wrote?

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      • Lawrence Taylor could do gay porn in the off season and play in the NFL. Sam miscalculated the leverage his talent would generate. He’s good enough to be on a roster. He’s not good enough to make him “worth” being on a roster. There maybe two dozen players who could have come out without risking a roster spot. Sam isn’t one of them. Is that bigotry or economics?

        If you are the managing partner of a litigation firm and the top law school all everything law grad shows up with a blue Mohawk are you hiring him or are you bigoted against people with Mohawks? You could love mohawks but you ain’t hiring cause it ain’t worth it. It’s this hole in logic that the opponents of affirmative action miss. It’s not always about the boss. Sometimes it’s the audience. Sometimes it’s the customer. It’s naive to believe that people in the market place won’t take money into consideration.

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        • rocksalt

          You can always get someone to shame your customers for not preferring blue mohawks.

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        • Cojones

          A high profile company with a reputation as the most conservative-minded, everyone-wears-a-suit company in the pharmaceutical industry had a job fair to attract young scientists who were conversant with DNA-splicing back in the seventies. A friend of mine in another company. a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science, worked there and delighted to tell how every single one showed up in Bermuda shorts and most wore sunglasses. They toured the company and work was interrupted when they were outside the clean room glassed-in area because the employees had never witnessed visitors dressed like that except for touring HS classes in the area.

          Several of those scientists were hired as “the future of the company” and continued to work there, impress visitors and please their bosses without ever changing their costumes and becoming suits.

          Other companies had casual Fridays that later became the dress code, depending mainly on whatever the climate was that dictated the dress. In So Ca the dress was casual except for some of us execs wearing suits. On weekends no suits could be found if you came in to work. One company that I worked for, the largest and most successful pharmaceutical firm in genetic engineering, outright disdained dress codes, separation of bathrooms based on gender signs and gender-based salaries. In the 80s. They also had no truck with those who gave a flip about sexual orientation since a few openly-gay and more than one tranny had positions of responsibility in the company.

          Your Mohawk blue-haired gentleman would have fit right in and probably would have conducted tours for the stock-buying customers who were boundless. And boy did we make money for those stockholders! Several were professors at UGA. Our University and team have received money from their stock largess. Point is, if you can’t look past the packaging, you will miss a lot of the character and resilience of people who laugh at trumped-up labels even in your isolated part of the business world.

          Sam was supported by many football fans and you fail to show proof of football “business” being down because of his presence. And don’t ever throw your worn-out economic theory and naivete remarks about business at my ass!

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        • DawgPhan

          2 problems.

          You are born gay. You are not born with a mohawk.

          Also, hiring the best and brightest is how to get ahead. If you are making hiring decisions based on how people dress you are missing a ton of great people.

          Your competition is likely not making that mistake.

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          • Derek

            Whether the decision is without basis, short-sighted or just plain dumb doesn’t mean those decisions aren’t made. I’m not justifying the decisions, I’m describing the decisions. You can say that money can be made doing what might be on the surface seem unpopular or that money doesn’t/shouldn’t matter anyway. Perhaps you are right. That’s not the world we live in. There is a conspiracy of silence to deny Sam a roster spot because they can all get someone as good as Sam without any risk of losing a buck. You want to know why, that’s your answer. It isn’t the owner’s homophobia or the GM’s or the head coaches. Its the public’s and the roster’s homophobia. Why fight that for a player who isn’t special? That’s how things are. By saying that, I’m not saying its right. It just is what it is.

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            • Cojones

              Your premise that we are homophobic is spot on. That’s what the author is bringing out into the open; And it hurts people with wonderful American outlooks on life as Sam does. We have laws that cram racial equality down our throat whether you like it or not. Those laws refute many things that people that you may have admired in life may have given you and that remain suppressed in your subconscious whether you accept the law of the land or not. The same goes for laws that remain unfair to many people because they have differing sexual mores and values about sex than the majority and those values are reflected in their love objects. Our language and word connotations are part of our surroundings that we grew up with; why else was the word “gueer” used to describe gays for most of our lives (if you’re an old fart like me)?

              Laws and Constitutional interpretations now are forming to bring our thinking into a modern world that will eschew those descriptions of people who are our fellow citizens and it is the epitome of the definition of an American for them to receive fair play. That fairness is only provided by law at the moment. These petty arguments that we have on here are our hearts and minds reflecting our past and the excuses we have made to ourselves as to acceptance of full rights by those we view as a minority trying to push their values on us. Reread your history and you can see the same arguments put forth to delay racial integration until our minds had a chance to get used to what was inevitable and to let the old ideas begin to die along with the generation that kept perpetrating them. None of us can reach beyond the grave to influence our grandchildren or other generations in a world unlike what we have lived in.

              I’m not typing anything new to 99% of the people who blog here. We all are good people and assholes in the eyes of others at differing times. So what does my pedantic rights rant have to do with Sam? Just this: If you can fit yourself into another’s skin and world for just a second, how would you feel to have what you have worked for so hard to be snatched away by the anachronistic wrong-headedness of others in power (as shown by the author) who have received their fair chance to earn a living and would deny you your chance in a uniquely American sport in a country that stands for greater vision of human freedom than all others in this world?

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