Anybody who has followed my rants over the years knows I am irked by people jumping on the bandwagon. Because the bandwagon expects entitlement to the world they are intruding. They act like they own the place. I said as much when Pinoys who know little about soccer were shocked at unruly Hong Kong fans.
My younger brother was a better athlete than I was in high school. Which is not saying much. My brother though was a reserve wide receiver on a team that played in the final for the provincial championship. If memory serves that was the only game my mother attended of his including his basketball games. I seem to recall while the game was going on she wrote letters. When it was all over she kept asking why they lost. I was not expecting her to ascertain they were being mishandled in the line of scrimmage but one of the many facts people who jump on the sports bandwagon seem to forget is for someone to win someone has to lose.
The NFL draft has always been a special day for me. Then again I enjoy following both NCAA and NFL football and the draft marks their annual formal confluence. It is endlessly fascinating for many reasons. What schools produce what positions and how smaller schools can produce more than their share of professionals. Draft day was not good for the likes of Tom Brady, Jeff Garcia. Kurt Warner and Jon Kitna but their careers ranged from solid starters for many years to Hall of Fame caliber. The inverse can be said for the likes of Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith.
NFL Football like any other sport in the highest level will always be about survival of the fittest. Like in the real world, college credentials can only get you so far. The fact remains Michael Sam has all this attention because of his decision to make his sexual orientation public. I don’t think anybody keeps track of this things but I doubt CNN ever cared about a 7th round draft pick ever. Of course Obama will capitalize on anything since he himself switched sides on the same sex marriage debate when he was up for reelection. What Michael Sam did took courage and does not add or substract from his talent or his desire to be an NFL player. Just know that many like him have not made the grade for purely football reasons. You want my opinion? I just hope from this moment on everything that happens for football reasons. He makes the team whether on the D Line or as a linebacker because he was better than the other players they had to let go. I just hope it is that simple.
Unlike the Philippines where it is possible to be an anonymous fifty year old despite having the right name and the right connections one year and president of the country the next, the NFL is a meritocracy unlike what we are used to here. If you will help the team you will be there. It takes a lot of hard work just to be drafted by an NFL player let alone make the team.Unlike the Philippines where motorcades and dancing the current song is more of a priority to voters than performance and intellect. I personally believe that a presidential candidate or even a sitting president being gay in the Philippines would be too much of a distraction that institutions may be coerced to put up appearances that things are otherwise.
Excelling in college sports does not always translate to the next level. The NBA was not exactly set on fire by Mateen Cleaves, Steve Alford and Juan Dixon. What is great about sports is you never know what will happen and that is why it has appealed to me when many things in entertainment do not. Project all you want but human beings who we presume talented enough or not talented enough have always amazed us what they end up doing or not doing based on variables like heart and durability .
Like any work place, your potential employers want to know what you will bring to the table. Sam plays on the defensive line same as Jadeveon Clowney who was picked first overall by the Houston Texans. With all his talent, he was still dissected for potential red flags like not going all out all the time. That is what football people do before they commit their selection and millions of dollars to 22 year olds. You can compare the NFL draft sometimes to the stock market where there are the blue chips, the speculative stocks and the emerging markets. The problem with this analogy is unlike the NFL in 2014 there is no such thing as a stock coming out as gay before the opening bell.
Various pre-draft evaluations of Michael Sam include:
- 5 out of 21 scouts would not draft him but sign him for a tryout. 7 out of the 21 would not even have him in for a tryout. Time
- good heart/ doesn’t fit our scheme/ too short / too slow / not really a good athlete Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
- plays hard and consistent/ did not produce against quality opponents/ not the best defensive player on his team Monday Morning Quarterback
What if Michael Sam is a tweener as opposed to a hybrid? If you have no idea what I am talking about then welcome to the world of professional football. A world Michael Sam is in now. A world that existed before an openly gay player decided to attempt to participate in it. A world that will only care what what he and ten other guys can do together on Sunday afternoons against the offense in front of them. That is all that it should be about. It is not about being gay or straight. The thing is for those that only know this story only from CNN or Obama and my friend on Facebook, their football knowledge apparently supersedes NFL general managers and scouts. Welcome to the bandwagon.
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