Courtesy commentor Belafon, who got it from LGF. How often do you hear a TV person quoting Audre Lord — approvingly?
Earlier today, commentor Comrade Jake linked to a great profile in the NYTimes:
… He was one of the best players to come out of tiny Hitchcock, Tex., where his family was well known for all the wrong reasons. He was an all-American and defensive terror on the football field. He was a regular at the gay club, where the bartenders knew him by name.
Sam introduced himself to the world Sunday night as a National Football League prospect who happens to be gay. Now he is poised to become a trailblazer in a violent and macho world that will scrutinize his every action and turn his private life into a very public debate.
But Sam has never had it easy. He grew up about 40 miles southeast of Houston near Galveston Bay in Texas, the seventh of eight children. Three of his siblings have died and two brothers are in prison. He lived briefly in the back seat of his mother’s car, and his relationship with his family remains complicated: When he visits home, he usually stays with friends….
And I personally want to share this from one of my new favorite bloggers, David Roth at SB Nation:
… [Mike] Francesa is the ulcerous anthropomorphized double-cut pork chop who bestrides the sports talk radio scene like a smug colossus draped in wrinkle-resistant Jos. A. Bank shirts…. And yet, when Mike Francesa talked about Michael Sam on the radio earlier this week, he came as close to being useful as he ever gets. It helped, if that’s the word, that Francesa was basically Cyd Ziegler in comparison to his callers, a nightmare army of Long Island Sal’s and Donnie’s In Boonton demanding to know, one after the other, 1) why this was news and 2) what about the showers, the naked showers.
It’s unclear whether Francesa — who has taken that tack himself in matters having to do with gay athletes — refused to humor them because he so plainly loathes his callers, or if he actually understood that there was some objective import to a rising NFL prospect refusing to pretend to be someone he isn’t simply because who and how he is might bother his (generally reactionary) future employers. The result, either way, was exceedingly wince-inducing radio. But there was something instructive buried amid all these weeping sacks of gay panic and piles of hot male garbage. More surprising still, this instructive thing came from Francesa himself.
It was, granted, an accident. Francesa and his callers generally agreed that they did not want to talk about this thing that they were talking about. “Listen, if you are a regular player, just a normal, everyday football player getting ready for the NFL draft, you don’t discuss your sexuality,” Francesa explained, with his characteristic impatience. “It’s not an issue.”…
Michael Sam is who he is, and he will do what he does. That, in itself, will be enough. For all the things in our country and our discourse that are haywire and rotten and revanchist and wrong, there does seem to be some progress on this particular front — an increasing realization that gay people are best understood not as an exotic subspecies of humanity, but simply as people, if only because that is fundamentally and finally what they are.
By this same token, Michael Sam is not a gay football player so much as he is just a football player. This makes it that much more objectionable that those who sell this sort of idiot sizzle continue to do it in blithe disregard of how foul this abstraction truly is. It makes the casually backwards and proudly ignorant fake-pragmatism of those anonymous NFL personnel types look even worse. But there will, when it comes time for Michael Sam to play football, be no place to hide for any of that bullshit. He will flatten that abstraction simply by doing what he does while being who he is.
So here is a not-so-fearless prediction: Michael Sam’s impact upon clubhouse chemistry, and the locker room’s impact upon him, will not be an issue. He is not being dropped into the Hobbesian bro-scape of an NFL locker room from a teacher’s lounge or the break room at Big Lots. He is re-entering an environment in which he has spent much of his life on earth, and he is entering it as himself — that is, as a very good football player preparing to make the ascent that his talent has earned him. His teammates will see him as such, because that’s what he will be to them. The Senator from Utah will be more upset about there being some gay sailors on a submarine than anyone on that submarine will be; he can afford to be in a way that they can’t, if only because he is so much further from the thing itself…