The Norman Transcript

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
Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU womens gym Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

Facebook