The Norman Transcript

National Sports

February 11, 2014

Hurdles still await Sam

NORMAN — Michael Sam will face a daunting set of challenges that most rookies don’t have to deal with when making the already formidable jump from college to the NFL.

The SEC’s co-defensive player of the year is about to find out if America’s most popular sport, rooted in machismo and entrenched in locker room hijinks, is ready for its first openly gay player.

First, he’ll have to find a team willing to put up with the media circus that will surround him. Then, he’ll have to find acceptance like he did at Missouri, where his sexuality was a non-issue during a 12-2 season. Only now, he’ll face opponents and their fans who know he’s gay. He might even face cheap shots and teammates hesitant to shower alongside him or undress in his presence.

While several teams and coaches said Monday that Sam’s sexual orientation wouldn’t affect his draft status, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, who contends his championing of gay rights led to his release from the Minnesota Vikings last year, wasn’t so sure.

“The majority of players will be supportive of Michael Sam or just won’t care,” Kluwe said. “You’ll have isolated guys here and there who might try to make a fuss about it, but players by and large are very much, ‘Hey, we’re here to do a job, we’re here to go out and play football.’

“In terms of the coaching/front office side, I think there’s where issues are going to arise because they are going to look at this like, ‘Hey, is this going to cause a distraction for the team?’ And by distraction, they mean, ‘We’re not really OK with having a gay player on our team, we can’t come out and say that, so we’re going to use the word distraction,”’ Kluwe added. “And unfortunately, those are the people who determine if you’re employed or not.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again

    MILWAUKEE — Shelby Miller struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings, and Mark Ellis had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Commissioner calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks....

    April 16, 2014

  • Fielder finally goes deep as Rangers shut out Mariners

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit back-to-back homers, Robbie Ross limited Seattle to five singles in seven-plus innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 5-0 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Warriors trying to move on without Bogut

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Go small or go home....

    April 16, 2014

  • White Sox wear Boston Strong on 1-year anniversary

    CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have paid tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before their game against the Red Sox....

    April 16, 2014

  • Hot goalie syndrome

    The NHL playoffs have arrived, which means it’s time for the goalies to get going....

    April 16, 2014

  • Musings from the Masters

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — The moment doesn’t get much bigger than this — a 20-foot putt on the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National for the win. Too bad this wasn’t the Masters....

    April 16, 2014

  • Green jacket and golden moment for Bubba Watson

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — For all the crazy stunts Bubba Watson does for fun, the green jacket was off limits....

    April 15, 2014

  • Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers’ 9-game win streak

    Associated Press MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers’ nine-game winning streak was snapped Monday night when Lance Lynn struck out 11 in seven innings and Jon Jay hit a three-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-0 victory. Lynn ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Evans, Pelicans stun Thunder 101-89

    NEW ORLEANS — Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by shocking the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on Monday night....

    April 15, 2014