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Many people are questioning Michael Sam’s decision to do a reality TV show with Oprah Winfrey. And I can understand that. I mean, the man is putting himself in the same category as Lindsey Lohan. How can that be a good idea? It is making people ask, “If Sam truly wanted to be recognized as a football player – only a football player – why allow this to happen?”
The answer is simple: Michael Sam is making a reality TV show because Michael Sam did what every other football player does on draft day. And y’all freaked out.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen straight players kiss their wives and girlfriends after getting drafted. It has practically become a cliche. But when Michael Sam did the same thing, it became an internet sensation. Michael Sam didn’t make himself a star. Y’all did.
Oh, and you made his boyfriend a star too. And that is ok. It isn’t the first time a spouse became famous after draft day. Can you pick Ryan Tannehill’s wife out a lineup? Of course you can. Is it because of her charity work with special needs kids? Or is it because you saw her with her husband at the draft? Or on Hard Knocks?
That’s right. Hard Knocks. The NFL sponsored reality show about young draft picks and free agents fighting to make a roster. Seems like they would love a story about a hard working late draft pick that is undersized but plays big. Especially when the draft pick in question has a hot spouse. HBO would eat that up. But this spouse has a twist.
And America can’t get enough of this twist. They’ve never seen anything like it. Not only do Michael Sam and his boyfriend look different than any straight couple you’ve ever seen, they look different than any GAY couple you’ve ever seen! This isn’t Neil Patrick Harris and his Broadway boyfriend. This is two SEC athletes, wearing polo shirts, looking like they just left a fraternity party on Old Row. And they kissed!
Many have correctly pointed out that Johnny Football or AJ McCarron would get crushed if they made a reality show. The difference is that their social lives only offer entertainment. Michael Sam’s social life offers education. Because too many people are making suggestions like, “If he wants to be treated like a normal player, he should do everything in his power to act like one.”
The people making these suggestions do not realize that most gay men, especially in the South, do exactly that. They pretend to be just like everyone else. They find a woman, get married, have 2.5 kids. They never tell anyone about the man they loved in college. They never tell anyone about the bars they frequent or the guy they see on the “down low.” We don’t talk about things like that in the South. Because if there is one thing we don’t tolerate in the South, it is people that aren’t “normal.”
And that is why Michael Sam MUST make this reality TV show. Not for himself. For you. You need to see this. You need to react to it. And you need to get over it. Because until you do, no gay man will ever be “normal.”