After Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced publicly Sunday that he is gay, anyone with a television or Internet connection was no doubt inundated with a slew of hot takes from national media, along with some cowardly NFL front office personnel sharing their views — anonymously, of course — on the unavoidable distraction of having a gay player on the roster. Thus, it’s easy to gloss over poignant commentary at the local news level, which is where you’ll find by far the best on-air editorial we’ve seen in the aftermath of Sam’s announcement.
WFAA (Dallas/Forth Worth) sports anchor Dale Hansen delivered this honest and candid speech during a broadcast Monday night, touching on every aspect of Sam’s situation. He starts with a humorous take on Sam’s draft stock, before diving into the “acceptable” behavior of current NFL players, and the resulting hypocrisy the NFL seems to show in handling the subject of gay players:
You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that.
“You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far!”
However, the most poignant part — to me, at least — is the following line:
“I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay — I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”
While some people might (unfairly) pick apart Hansen’s “I’m not always comfortable…” comment, it’s important that he said it, because it’s probably representative of many other peoples’ feelings on the matter — many of whom don’t have a voice.