Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Sam and the Death of Dignity

The media circus around Michael Sam - the first openly gay player in the NFL - came to a crescendo with Sam's draft yesterday.  I was able to watch it all unfold over dinner last night with Mrs. YDP.  

Upon getting the call that he had been drafted, Sam wept.  And wept.  And wept.

Was it emotional for Sam?  Obviously.  He is the "first," and perhaps that was the origin of the emotion.  If so, and regardless, I certainly don't begrudge him for what he felt.  But if the moment really, truly meant that much, why the cameras?  Why the live ESPN feed?  Why make it a circus?

And a circus it was.  It was made all the more manifest by the incredibly weird smashing of cake into his lover's face later on - again, all while the media cameras were rolling:

I don't get it.  Any of it.  If one wants to consider this a Jackie Robinson or Rosa Parks moment, I'd agree.  But the moment was sullied by behavior that frankly didn't jive with the purported magnitude of the moment..  It was weird, egocentric, and all captured live on ESPN.  

Michael Sam, you may be the first openly gay player in the NFL.  But a Jackie Robinson or a Rosa Parks you most clearly are not. 

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