After team president Dick Cass commended Michael Sam's decision to publicly announce he's gay, a Ravens player has decided to extend his support as well.
Ravens receiver Torrey Smith joined the blogosphere on Wednesday and penned his first column about Sam. Much has been said thus far about the decision — ranging from the "distraction" excuse, to some players wondering how to act in a locker room with a gay player, to others showing respect and offering complete support.
Smith offered a great take on Sam in his first blog at www.torreysmithwr.wordpress.com. He wrote he's fully supportive of Sam's decision and that his inclusion to the NFL shouldn't be a problem.
"I was recently asked if I would mind playing with an openly gay man. My response? Absolutely not! If he is a great football player and can help us win our next Super Bowl, I could care less about who or what he likes as long as he performs on the field. Some may argue that it could effect the chemistry in the locker room but that shouldn't be an issue. Most men are comfortable with their sexuality. The University of Missouri football team is proof of that. If a group of athletes 18-22 years old can handle having an openly gay teammate, why can't a group of professional athletes? Things may have been a little different 15-20 years ago, but society is different now. As long as there is a reciprocation of respect, the locker room environment shouldn't be an issue."
Sam's announcement is a big story now for an obvious reason: Sam is likely about to be the first openly gay player to play in the NFL. When more come out, it won't be a big story. As it stands, there have definitely been NFL players in the past that are gay. They've just had to keep a prominent part of their lives a secret.
It's great that Smith tackled two important issues surrounding this:
1) Sam's inclusion into an NFL locker room won't be that big of a distraction. I've heard analysts preemptively state the media will drag this out and make it miserable on everyone else involved. It's a big story now for obvious reasons. It will be a big story when he's drafted. During training camp, it'll be a story that shouldn't last past the first few days. By the time the season starts? Sure, some in the media can be short-sighted and shameless. But I guarantee reporters aren't going to hound teammates all year long about their thoughts on a gay teammate. It's almost insulting to the profession to think that all reporters are a bunch of callous individuals that don't respect the personal lives of those they cover.
2) If Missouri's team of 18-22 year olds can handle this, so can professionals. It's that simple.
Good for Smith to speak out on this. You'd like to assume the vast majority of players are in line with Smith's logic on this issue.
On another note, go ahead and bookmark Smith's blog. Off to a good start, Smith stated on twitter that he plans to write on a topic at least once a week. He'll be a must-read each time he posts something.