NFL Draft: Will Openly Gay Players Have An Effect?

Missouri Defensive End and SEC Defensive player of the year in 2014, Michael Sam is under scrutiny following his announcement in February that he is gay. Repercussions have rung throughout the professional sports arenas like never before.

Just three weeks away from the NFL Draft, the repercussions of the Michael Sam announcement in February still ring strong. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year announced his open homosexuality to the world, and since has experienced the discrimination long thought to be gone from our society. From the institution of Sports Illustrated magazine, to the mega Network of CBS, to online discussion sites and social media outlets, Sam's coming out has affected the draft immeasurably, and the onslaught of media misrepresentation from respected news outlets to massively read social media sites has taken the simple act of self-declaration to a level yet unheard of.

With the support of his team mates at the University of Missouri, Sam felt that he would make the move prior to the Draft. Since the February announcement, CBS Sports has dropped the young man's draft rating from an overall of 90, quite possibly resulting in a third round pick and buried him deep in the last rounds with an overall rating of only 160. Despite the undesirable overall, many NFL teams are looking at the merits of the young man as an athlete and the past four years of his college career, choosing to ignore the media hype and social media pressures.

In addition, many supporters of homosexuality in the professional sports arena have begun campaigns to raise awareness. Social Media website,, has posted an online discussion/debate hosted by ESPN Radio's Jared Max, and Outsports founder Cyd Zeigler, that was met with great enthusiasm.

"Michael Sam's announcement," commented the openly gay sports analyst, Jared Max, " the most significant coming out in the history of sports."

Heterosexual former Punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe, has publicly voiced his support for Sam, and any other athletes forced to hide his or her sexuality because of social pressures within professional sports. In fact, speculation among Vikings fans is that Kluwe was released by the Vikings organization following a push by Kluwe for equality in marriage in the state of Minnesota. Through social media outlets and his celebrity status, Kluwe became the spokesperson for all seeking equality. As of August 1, 2013, homosexual marriage is honored in the state of Minnesota.

For more information on the issue of homosexuality in the professional sports arena, visit

JD Arbuckle is a freelance journalist specializing in consumer education on a variety of topics including LGBT issues and the effect on professional sports.