With All Due Respect, I Don’t Care

Posted on February 12th, by Rob Scichili in All. No Comments

Excuse me. I have three words I want to say right now.

I don’t care.

Imichael-sam’m talking about Michael Sam, the Missouri senior defensive end who revealed on his own terms Sunday that he is gay.

Yes, I realize that it is “groundbreaking” and he will become the first active NFL player to admit he is gay. Good for him.

Guess what? I don’t give a rip.

Can he play? Is he a better fit for a 3-4 defense or a 4-3? If he is truly too small to play end, does he have the speed to play outside linebacker in the NFL?

Those are the questions I care about when it comes to Michael Sam. And the same goes every other player out there.

You know what matters to me about Michael Sam? The guy was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. That’s what impresses me about him. I don’t care about his sexual orientation.

Is he courageous? Sure, I give him credit for coming out and telling everyone.

But I still don’t care.

Some have questioned whether an NFL locker room will accept him as a gay man. I laugh at that, honestly, because I don’t think his fellow players care either. What do they care about? The same thing I do.

Can the man play? Can he be depended upon to fill the correct gap on a seal block that takes out the defensive tackle on his side of the field? Will he put in the work during the off-season to learn the playbook and defensive scheme?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then he should be a hell of an NFL linebacker.

So let’s get to the things that really matter about Michael Sam when it comes to his NFL career being a success.

imagesSam led the SEC in sacks with 11 ½ and 19 tackles for loss in 2013, all while playing defensive end. He’s undersized by NFL standards to play that same position at 6-2, 260-pounds, with many teams projecting him as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense. Sam has decent speed, but isn’t a burner by any means. He’s projected to be drafted somewhere in the mid rounds.

That’s all that matters to me. What Sam does in his private life is his business. To be fair, I don’t care who Johnny Manziel, Sammy Watkins or Teddy Bridgewater date or hang out with either. It’s all irrelevant to me.

I miss the days when the main things we cared about when it came to sports was how they play on the field and how well they do their job. Do gay people deserve the same rights as heterosexuals? Absolutely. But I don’t care when it comes to the game of football, or any other sport for that matter.

Sam has the talent to play in the NFL; no one disputes that. He’s a big reason why Mizzou won the SEC East in only their second year in the league. Kudos to him on coming out and I wish him good luck.

Ask me if I’m concerned that he will have problems fitting in the locker room if he’s drafted by my team. He better fit in, because he’s simply not doing his job on the field if he doesn’t. It actually has nothing to do with his private life. Let’s keep the focus on the football.

Sorry, but I just don’t care.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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