Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Gay Bodies at the Gladiator Games
Major sports idols around the world are doing what they do best, play their sports with the integrity and verve that helps them or their teams win. Whether it's national or international sports, true talent is on display and those with far less athletic ability support our teams. But what happened when Michael Sam, the senior defensive end of the Missouri Tigers, came out prior to his NFL draft pick? It was not such a pretty picture of American football.
As a black gay man, I was very happy to see such an outstanding young athlete’s virtue on display. His quote in the New York Times says it all, “I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. I’m comfortable with who I am… And I want to tell it the way I want to tell it.”
Sam’s honesty, truthfulness, sincerity and frankness are virtues that I find admirable and would encourage more athletes of all races, genders and sexual orientations to adhere. Though, if this were a utopian world, the media and social networks would have ended the discussions with positive notes. But, this is America and this is the NFL, the gladiators’ game, and many do not see it as a place for anyone to take a stand outside of patriarchal “tradition” where only “real men” rules stand true.
Needless to say, I’m very happy to see that the negative comments found in the media and the social networks remain far less than those that support Michael Sam. Therefore, it is notice to the NFL owners, the homophobic gladiators still in play, and some of the fans that have been brainwashed into this negativity, to recognize that a better future has come.
Those of us, who grew up in times when these things were not possible, we are left with an immense gratitude for how our world is continuously changing for the young people of today and tomorrow.
May the Divine continue to bless us all.